Future of Isle of Man Meats plant to be decided

The Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) is to discuss the future of a meat plant on the island.

DEFA is to host a meeting on 9 February with Isle of Man Meats to gain views on a list of options for the plant.

The meeting was called at the request of the board of Isle of Man Meats, who felt the need to look at different, more efficient and entrepreneurial delivery options.

A report by DEFA identified a shortlist of four potential options for the plant and their estimated costs of delivery. These options were: improved operation of the current business; a restructure of the business to add a retail and wholesale butchery; closure of the plant, with a mobile slaughter facility on-island for sheep and pigs, with cattle shipped for slaughter and meat returned for local consumption; and testing the market for alternative operators via a tender process.

DEFA said that it would prefer to test the market for alternative operators via a tender process, as it will identify the best possible operator for the agricultural industry, the local meat supply chain and the taxpayer but it does want to seek industry views on all shortlist options.

According to a report by Isle of Man Newspapers, the meat plant made a loss of 1,220,441 in 2015. However, this was reduced to 587,941 following a government subsidy of 632,000.

The plant underwent a massive refurbishment project in 2014 and a steering committee was assigned in June 2016 to help identify options for the plant. The committee consisted of members from DEFA, the Manx NFU, Isle of Man Meats and the Agricultural Marketing Society.

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