New Poultry Plan for Scotland launched

A premium brand for Scottish chicken is one of the centrepieces of the Scottish government’s new Poultry Plan which has been published today (24 December).

It identifies important steps that need to be taken to secure a sustainable and profitable future for Scotland’s poultry sector, following last month’s move by 2 Sisters Food Group to downsize it’s operations north of the border.

Other work being taken forward includes scoping demand for Scottish chicken, identifying opportunities for poultry farmers to work together to cut costs, and providing support for the newly-established Scottish Chicken Growers Association.

“Scotland produces first-class poultry to high animal welfare standards and I am doing everything in my power to ensure our poultry industry has a positive future, and that the chicken consumed in Scotland is produced in Scotland,” said rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead.

 “There are immediate challenges facing the Scottish poultry sector and I do not want to see any farmers go out of business.

“Quality and provenance are of paramount importance for consumers in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, and I am convinced that there is strong demand in Scotland for the fantastic poultry being produced here.

“I am very interested in exploring the creating of a premium brand for Scottish chicken, a tactic that has worked well to promote Specially Selected Scottish Pork, Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.

“The Poultry Plan also identifies ways in which poultry farmers themselves can work together to cut costs and take advantage of opportunities in the market.”

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller welcomed the Scottish government’s fast tracking of the new Poultry Plan, which should provide a platform for growth.

“There are now positive indications that organic producers will have a future in Scotland, but the level of uncertainty amongst the growers remains,” he added.

“The present planned production in Scotland looks as if it will be close to half of the consumer demand and therefore there is a significant gap to fill.

“Retailers recognise the quality of chicken produced north of the border and believe they can grow sales. However, they have highlighted gaps in the Scottish industry – an inability to provide a full range of portions or cuts.

“Creating new cutting facilities could open the door to this wider market and has the potential to secure the future of suppliers throughout Scotland.

“Government support to bring that investment forward may be important in securing jobs in the processing sector.”

It is understood that some 12 contract growers have already been signed up by 2 Agriculture, and parent company 2 Sisters has now committed to retain some free-range and organic processing at Coupar Angus.

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