Scotland’s pork industry appears to have weathered the Covid-19 storm better than its counterparts in the United States and Ireland.
Aberdeenshire pig farmer and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) board member Philip Sleigh concluded strong consumer demand and a collaborative sector approach has seen Scotland succeed when other markets have slowed and in some cases shut down altogether.
Earlier this month FG reported Kantar figures for AHDB which showed UK retail demand for pork products was up a third in the first three weeks of April, with sales of sausages and bacon in the week prior to lockdown 70 per cent higher than the same week last year and primary pork sales up nearly 40 per cent.
Mr Sleigh said: “Price is always important, but at times like this what matters is the ability to continue to move, process and slaughter animals.
"Between Scottish Pig Producers, Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish Government, a huge amount of effort and pragmatism has gone into keeping meat plants going and product in front of consumers in the last few weeks. And all while keeping workers safe.”
In the US a reported two million breeding sows will be culled as processing capacity reduces due to Covid-19 infections in processing plants.
Ex farm pig prices have halved despite strong consumer demand. Similarly, in Ireland, plants have been closed overnight due to infection.
Mr Sleigh added he was acutely conscious of his own production line and the need for his staff to remain both healthy and to be flexible in how they work in order to keep the business going.