Pig sector hardship aid extended

The pig producers’ hardship support scheme, set up last year to provide financial support to pig producers affected by the temporary closure of Scotland’s main abattoir at Brechin last year, is to be extended.

The closure of the Quality Pig Processors (QPP) plant at Brechin resulted in a backlog in pigs waiting for slaughter and the loss of their licence to export pork to China – a lucrative market for the sector.

In August last year the Scottish Government responded by launching the £715,000 Pig Producers Hardship Support Scheme which was backdated to help alleviate losses suffered by QPP suppliers between 8 February and 31 March 2021.

However, with the sector still waiting for export restrictions to be lifted, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon yesterday announced an extension to the scheme with funding support of more than £680,000.

“The COVID-related closure of Brechin abattoir last year and the subsequent loss of the plant’s export licence to China has continued to have a negative impact on pig farmers, during already unprecedented challenging times for the farming industry,” said Ms Gougeon.

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She said that the scheme would open for applications shortly and a further announcement would be made to provide guidance for applications.

Welcoming the announcement, Martin Morgan, executive manager of the Scottish Meat Wholesalers Association said the move would help underpin the viability of the primary pigmeat supply chain in Scotland of which both the Quality Pig Processors (QPP) plant in Brechin and Robertson's Fine Foods in Ayrshire were important customers.

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