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LAMMA 2021

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Covid-19 highlights the importance of the domestic supply of feed meat

Combined with the contribution made by key workers in food production it has ensured overall food security according to the latest market commentary by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

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Covid-19 highlights the importance of the domestic supply of feed meat

The crisis has also highlighted the importance of minimising disruption to the supply chain when carving out plans for Brexit post-transition.

 

Stuart Ashworth, director of economics services with QMS said issues in the US, where several abattoirs have stopped working, highlighted the impact on farmgate prices and some meat shortages.

 

He said: “In the UK, we have not seen processing plants close, although many have slowed down, but the comparison with the United States illustrates how important those working in food processing establishments are and emphasises why they are key workers as much as medical workers".


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Disruption

 

During the early stages of coronavirus in China, the shortage of staff at ports disrupted the arrival and distribution of imported meat.

 

Once they returned to work, the period of disruption to usual trade flows resulted in legacy problems for meat exporters to China, such as accessing the containers and ships.

 

Food supply in the UK has not been as significantly disrupted because cross-channel ferries are running well below capacity, operating largely as freight only transport with minimal disruption at ports.

 

Financial support

 

However, with the financial viability of some ferry routes and businesses being threatened by the reduction in passenger travel, the UK has made financial support available to these companies to secure their future.

 

Mr Ashworth added: “Irrespective of coronavirus, the strategic importance of food security that comes from access to domestic supplies and the availability of skilled workers in the food industry must be better appreciated.

 

“Discussions over Brexit must fully recognise the impact of disruption to trade, whether that be through tariff or non-tariff barriers on the financial sustainability of the red meat supply chain."

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