SAMW in red meat supply plea

The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) has urged farmers to produce more livestock to help ensure the future success of the country’s red meat sector. 

SAMW president Frank Clark made the plea as part of his New Year message to the industry.

“Just as house buyers are encouraged to think ‘location, location, location’ when considering a new investment, our members see a sustained and reliable upturn in livestock numbers as the number one requirement for the future success of Scotland’s red meat industry,” he said. “The fact that an increase in livestock numbers is also our second and third most important 2018 requirement puts everything else our industry will face next year into its proper context, including Brexit.”

Clark added that the SAMW also wanted a “good red meat deal” to be agreed in 2018, as well as a reduction in red tape and a more collaborative approach from regulatory authorities.

“For most of our members, however, the overwhelming need for a stronger supply of Scottish livestock is the issue which overhangs red meat business planning and investment decisions as never before,” he said. “While Brexit continues to dominate the business and political landscape, generating questions over future trading routes, tariffs and market access, it’s the persistent and damaging shortfall in domestic livestock supplies which is actually posing the biggest threat to the future of Scotland’s red meat industry.”

He said that any trade deal would be moot if there was no supply. “Ultimately, however, our greatest business strength lies in the fact that our end-product is as superb as ever, with a great global reputation and definite scope for growth. Sadly, securing new markets in the post-Brexit era won’t be possible, irrespective of the agreed exit terms, unless we also have an increased supply of necessary raw materials on which to stamp our renowned Scotch brand. Imagine the frustration for our members if we actually get a good final deal with Brussels and then have nothing to sell on the back of it.”

Clark added that there were successes in 2017. “As a business sector we secured good progress in 2017, headlined by Scotland gaining BSE negligible risk status in July 2017, the lowest risk level rating available.

“We also secured a 9% growth in beef export values, alongside a 4% increase in export volumes, both excellent figures in the midst of a volatile year for the national economy.”

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