September 27, 2022
Government of Scotland, UK, accused of ignoring local pig sector
A leading pig farmer in Scotland, the United Kingdom, had accused the Scottish government of giving the sector the "cold shoulder" by failing to respond to NFU Scotland's (NFUS) direct appeals for support.
In a blog on the NFUS website, pigs committee chairman Jamie Wyllie said that, despite writing to both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon and then meeting Gougeon in person, the union had received no feedback to its proposals.
He stated: "Scottish Government talk about doing all they can to help the cost-of-living crisis but, without intervention, we risk letting an entire food sector that is able to produce one of the most cost-effective and carbon efficient proteins that our country can produce go to the wall."
Wyllie said the first suggestion was a direct payment to each farmer per sow to try to recover some of the losses made over the last year and the second was a "bounce back loan" ongoers scheme, which would have the Scottish government covering the interest on loans.
"Both requests are vital to ensure the longevity of the pig industry," he stated. "The first to keep us in production now and the second to allow us to manage finances to ensure future survival of the industry.
"Once prices pass cost of production, we can start paying back the debts that have accrued; without this support, the current levels of debt will stagnate and prevent any future investment in the industry."
Wyllie also questioned the viability of the main pig abattoir at Brechin.
It "received a large grant from the Scottish Government a few years back to modernise, expand and grow the Scottish pig sector," Wyllie said. "This money will have been wasted if there is no pig sector to supply it and it is a significant employer within the area."
He added: "Importing cheap pork from other countries around the world exports our climate and social responsibilities, taking them out of our control and places food security for the nation at risk.
"We have seen this with the manufacturing sector in the UK and it's not far away for pork and other sectors in agriculture.
"We desperately need direct funding to ensure the longevity of the industry and allow us to be able to invest in the future. At the very least, an acknowledgement of the letter would be nice."
- The Press and Journal