The SNP Government has been urged to support pig farmers amid concerns that Scotland’s only major pig slaughter facility has had to shut after a staff Covid-19 outbreak.
The Scottish Conservatives want ministers to look at setting up a similar scheme to one introduced in Northern Ireland which supports pig farmers impacted by Covid closures.
The Executive in Belfast has just introduced a £2.2m compensation fund to deal with the after-effects caused by the Covid-19 related closure of Cranswick County Food in County Antrim in the summer. Quality Pork Limited in Brechin has suffered an outbreak of the virus on its premises.
The party’s rural economy spokesman Jamie Halcro Johnston says introducing a similar scheme in Scotland would support pig farmers who will be faced with a huge drop in the value of their pigs as any delays to going to market mean pigs become too heavy and fall out of specification.
He has lodged a Topical Question at Holyrood to demand action from SNP Ministers.
Scottish Conservatives rural economy spokesman Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “The closure of the Quality Pork Limited plant in Brechin is a major concern for the pig sector and is set to leave farmers with stock that is quickly losing value."
“It appears the option of moving stock to other facilities to be processed isn’t available, and a two-week shutdown of the plant could see the price of each animal drop by around 40 per cent. That’s why it is important that the SNP Government moves quickly to provide support and should consider introducing a scheme like the one just being rolled out in Northern Ireland."
“The UK Government has provided billions of pounds of additional funding to help combat the impact of Covid-19 in Scotland but, too often, Scottish ministers have been slow to use it and even slower to get it to those businesses that need it. Pig farmers impacted by any COVID-19 outbreaks need the SNP Government to move more quickly and get this scheme set up.”
The scheme in Northern Ireland was announced last week: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-55759345