Scotland’s Pig Industry Builds on Strong Base to Reset, Restart and Recover from Covid-19

As Scotland slowly eases its lockdown restrictions, Scotland’s pig producers have mapped out their priorities on how to reset, restart and recover.

The Union has recognised that resetting and restarting as we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis will provide significant opportunities for Scottish farmers, crofters and growers.  All NFU Scotland’s commodity committees and working groups – combinable crops, livestock, milk, pigs, poultry and specialist crops – have identified key steps and actions needed.

For those producing pigs, the priorities are the following:

  • Ensure the abattoirs and processing facilities continue to keep open and operating.
  • Secure greater commitment from majority of retailers to stock more Scottish pork.
  • Increase the range of Scottish pork products available in retailers to secure better carcase balance.
  • New impetus to ‘Specially Selected Scottish pork’ brand.
  • Availability of grant support to allow new investment in buildings that improve the environment and welfare.
  • Build on existing successful self-funded pig health schemes.

Pigs working group Chairman Jamie Wyllie was quick to praise the efforts of the abattoir and processing sector in keeping supply chains open throughout the crisis.

Mr Wyllie said: “I want to thank staff in our abattoirs and processing facilities for continuing to work throughout the crisis, allowing pigs to keep moving.  Without their efforts, we would have been in a lot of trouble on farms.

“As we start to emerge from lockdown, it is important that we continue to focus support and activity towards keeping our abattoirs and processing sectors functioning.

“With panic buying now over, and retailers returning to more normal supply lines, we want to work with them on widening their product range to help carcase balance and reduce reliance on imports.

“At the same time, we want to see a greater commitment from all retailers to stock more Scottish pork.  We have seen Aldi re-commit to all Scottish pork in recent weeks and we would want to see others do the same.  Covid-19 has provided a sharp lesson on the need for locally produced food which retailers must get behind.

“Securing increased sales would be complemented by a new marketing push being given to the Specially Selected Scottish Pork brand.

“In ensuring the Scottish pig sector is fit for the future, we want to get in place longer term grant options that would support investments that deliver environmental and welfare benefits to our businesses and buildings.

“We would also back building on the excellent work the industry has undertaken on pig health schemes by giving consideration to expanding the self-funded disease eradication and control schemes already in place.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland sees the role of all farmers and crofters as central to Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery process given the range of economic, environmental and social benefits they can deliver.  NFUS believes Scottish agriculture should:
    • produce the high-quality food and drink that its customers want.
    • embrace change and seek new market opportunities.
    • lead in the delivery of climate ambitions and a flourishing environment.
    • drive sustainable rural development, helping rural communities thrive and prosper.
    • contribute to key objectives on animal health and welfare and promote human health and well-being.
  • NFU Scotland has initiated reset, restart and recovery plans for different sectors of Scottish agriculture. The sectors covered are livestock, milk, pigs, poultry, specialist crops and combinable crops.   
  • A short video of Pigs Working Group Chair Jamie Wyllie discussing the Union’s priorities is available to watch on the Union’s Facebook page at:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 76/20

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