Price jeopardy for pig sector in Scotland

Scotland’s pig sector could be in jeopardy without a substantial change to the pricing regime used by one of the major buyers in the country, it was claimed yesterday.

Pig pricing has put Scotland's pig sector in jeopary say NFUS. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Pig pricing has put Scotland's pig sector in jeopary say NFUS. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy said the price being paid by Pilgrim’s, the processing partner of Scotland’s largest abattoir located in Brechin, was uncompetitive compared to alternative market routes - and called on the company to change its pricing practices:

“While there is strong market demand for pigmeat the pricing structure being operated by Pilgrim’s at Brechin is making it impossible for many of our members to financially survive.”

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Kennedy said that producers had been quitting the sector and the volume of pigs being sold to the plant had declined:

“Should the current situation persist we are concerned for the future of the abattoir itself - as to operate effectively it needs a critical mass of pigs to process efficiently – we simply won’t have enough pigs left in Scotland to meet this critical mass if the current situation persists.”

Kennedy said the situation could threaten both farm jobs as well as those working at the abattoir, and result in a shortage of ‘Specially Selected Pork’ on shelves.

“We are calling on Pilgrim’s to recognise their responsibility to the pig industry and cease penalising farmers through unfair pricing. If they are not willing to do review their current practices then we urge them to engage in meaningful dialogue that will open opportunities to develop a positive future for both the sector and processing plant.”

Pilgrim's yesterday said they were considering the contents of the letter.

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