14 August 2001
Concern over Scots veg processer
By FWi staff
FARMERS leaders in Scotland have expressed “grave concern” at news that a major processor of fruit and vegetables has called in the receivers.
The announcement by Montrose, Angus firm Esk Frozen Foods will cause uncertainty for many farmers said, NFU Scotland vice president John Kinnaird.
Esk Frozen Foods purchases thousands of tonnes of produce worth millions of pounds, much of which comes from local farmers, said Mr Kinnaird.
“Scotland has already lost vital processing capacity and if we lose yet more, farmers will have to send their produce longer distances,” he said.
High fuel costs create a huge competitive disadvantage and there are practical problems with delivering produce, especially peas, long distances.
“Scottish farmers will be hoping a buyer can be found and ensure local processing capacity in a vital sector of the food industry,” said Mr Kinnaird.
The NFUS vice president said local processing capacity is essential for farmers to access a marketplace undermined by the relative weakness of the Euro,
This allows cheaper European imports to undercut fruit and vegetables from this country.
Compliance with the EUs Waste Water Directive also burdens processors with increasing costs which undermines their viability, said Mr Kinnaird.
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