Talks planned on Scots beef campaign
By Allan Wright
MEETINGS are being arranged to discuss how much extra money should be allocated to promote Scottish beef on to the newly reopened European market.
The issue was discussed at an Meat and Livestock Commission committee meeting last week, where there was a general acceptance that extra resources would be needed.
“The commission has to decide the level of resources needed to restart the export trade,” said John Ross, who is chairman of the Scotch Quality Beef and Lamb Association.
“We have done the research in Scotland to show that we could regain a foothold in the export market.”
Mr Ross said Scottish producers had to avoid alienating English farmers by putting too much MLC money into a solely Scottish promotion.
He also warned that increasing the cost of Scottish beef, which already sells at a 10p/kg liveweight premium, could make it less attractive to consumers.
Jim Wallace, leader of the Scottish Lib-Dems, wants the new Scottish Parliament to set up a Scottish body to handle the international marketing of Scottish beef and lamb.
Scottish NFU president George Lyon, who is also a Lib-Dem candidate for the Scottish Parliament, said the union view was quite clear.
“We want the maximum amount of money to promote Scottish beef and lamb and we are lobbying Government and the MLC to make sure we get adequate resources,” he said.
Mr Lyon said there would be discussions over the coming months about the whole business of meat promotion after devolution.
“There have been several occasions when Scottish farmers wanted to change the MLC levy system, but were prevented by their English colleagues,” he said.