The news from Brussels that the EU is to grant export subsidies has been welcomed in Scotland in spite of the curtailments of British pork following the recent FMD outbreak.
According to Rural Affairs Editor of the Scotsman, Dan Buglass, if the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU producers commence trading with third countries with support from Brussels, an automatic positive effect will be felt in the UK.
Pressure on pig sector
Robin Traquair, Chairman of the NFU Scotland pigs committee, commented that the pressure on the pig sector from soaring feed costs and lower prices is at breaking point.
Commenting on the EU’s recent initiative for private storage aid, which prevented pig prices from totally collapsing, Traquair said “it was a smart move. Even though it will not directly help UK producers, it will relieve their EU counterparts, thus indirectly assisting the UK industry”. The storage aid will be suspended though as export refunds become available.
Scotland has undergone some tough times recently. Its breeding sow stock is now no more than 45,000 in comparison to 70,000 back in 1996. Scotland prides itself in the quality of its “Specially Selected Scotch Pork” which ranks high in the EU as producers are operating under higher welfare standards than elsewhere except for Sweden.
Consumers, however, have been the real winners during this last crisis, having faced no major price hikes in their pork.