Meat processor Tulip Foods has agreed a deal with AP Jess to slaughter pigs at its Brechin abattoir in Angus.

The move significantly increases Scotland’s pigmeat processing capacity and provides a local outlet for Scottish pig producers.

AP Jess’s managing director Alan Jess said: “We are very excited about this opportunity to work with a business on the scale of Tulip and believe the conclusion of the agreement is true testament to the quality of Scottish pigmeat and the fantastic service levels that our Brechin abattoir can deliver. “The deal will be very good news for the local economy as it will lead to the creation of around 30 much-needed jobs.”

Philip Sleigh, chairman of NFU Scotland’s pigs committee, said: “The news is a timely boost to Scottish pig farmers who have been enduring rocketing costs and poor prices, sending many producers out of business.

“The contract at Brechin should ensure the majority of pigs produced in Scotland will now be processed in Scotland. And competition for pigs in the market can only be a good thing for producers.”

Jim Mclaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “This commitment gives a welcome boost to our Scottish production base, which has been enduring a difficult period of falling throughput and volatile grain prices.

“This annoucement is another promising sign for the Scottish pig industry, which has a great deal to be proud of – including the world-leading quality assurance and welfare that underpins it. Out producers have also repeatedly shown their willingness to work together and embrace new technology to improve production as well as ground-breaking initiatives such as “Specially Selected Pork”, which is approved by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – the UK’s first-ever farm assurance and food labelling scheme independently backed by an animal welfare charity.”