NFU Scotland president, Martin Kennedy, has written to Pilgrim’s, the processing partner of Scotland’s largest abattoir located in Brechin, to urge them to stop operating pricing practices that are threatening the survival of the Scottish pig sector.
“NFU Scotland has some serious concerns for the future of the pig sector in Scotland resulting from the uncompetitive price being paid by Pilgrim’s for pigs going to the Brechin abattoir.
"The price is uncompetitive compared to alternative market routes and this has resulted in the volume of pigs going to Brechin falling dramatically and operations at the plant being reduced to three days a week.
“While there is strong market demand for pig meat the pricing structure being operated by Pilgrim’s at Brechin is making it impossible for many of our members to financially survive.
"We are currently losing around one farmer from the sector each week and to stop the trickle becoming a flood, we need Brechin to once again be operating at normal levels and paying the same price as other abattoirs.”
'We are concerned for the future of the abattoir'
“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.
"This 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.”