28 October 1999
Spirit man takes stock of Scottish sheep

by Shelley Wright

INTERNATIONAL businessman Andrew Dewar-Durie has been given the task of identifying ways to help Scottish sheep farmers out of their current difficulties.

Mr Dewar-Durie, chairman of Allied Distillers, was appointed on Wednesday by Scottish farm minister Ross Finnie.

He will produce a report within the next six months and will assess the markets available to Scottish sheep producers and offer advice on any changes needed.

In particular, Mr Dewar-Durie will consider whether the industry is making best use of opportunities at home and abroad.

He will decide what strategies should be adopted at each stage in the production and marketing chain.

Mr Finnie was delighted Mr Dewar-Durie accepted the task, but warned that no individual could wave a magic wand and solve all the problems in the sheep sector.

“The objective is not to try to solve all the problems of the industry but to bring that fresh look and investigate market opportunities,” said Mr Finnie.

Mr Dewar-Durie said he would embark on his task with no preconceived ideas. “I want to listen and learn from as broad a range of opinions as possible.”

He added: “We live in a world of constant change. The challenge is to make that change positive.”

Jim Walker, president of the Scottish NFU, said the appointment of someone who might introduce fresh ideas was welcome given the current state of the industry.

“Mr Dewar-Durie knows exporting inside out, but comes to the sheep industry without any baggage or vested interest which could be a very positive thing.”