SAMW issues warning over EU referendum

Scotland’s meat wholesalers have warned that the export market for Scotch Beef and Lamb must not be damaged, whatever decision is reached on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. 

Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) president Alan McNaughton said that while the organisation was neutral on the outcome of the referendum, it had strong views on how the outcome might affect the red meat industry in Scotland. The European export market is currently worth around £75m to the Scottish meat and livestock industry.

Commenting ahead of a visit to the Royal Highland Show by EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan, McNaughton said a lot of work had been done by its member companies to develop exports across Europe in recent years, and close attention needed to be paid now to ensuring such efforts weren’t wasted in the years ahead.

“In 2014, an estimated 98% of all Scottish beef and lamb exports went to Europe, at a gross value of about £75m,” said McNaughton. “That is equivalent to about 9% of the sector’s turnover. This trade is particularly important for sheepmeat, accounting for more than a quarter of production. The trade is less significant for beef, but is nonetheless important in terms of market diversification.

“In addition, many of our member companies have been working hard and investing heavily in recent years to further develop exports to the EU. This effort must not be wasted.

“We very much hope that Commissioner Hogan’s visit to Scotland this week will enable these issues to be addressed in the course of his time both at the Highland Show and during additional meetings and farm visits.”

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