While there will be tough and challenging times ahead there will also be opportunities in the post-Brexit era, according to Stuart Ashworth, Head of Economics Services with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
Speaking at today’s (Monday 19th June, 2017) launch of QMS’ new “Scottish Red Meat Industry Profile”, Mr Ashworth said steps to improve the flow of information between different parts of the supply chain will be key to unlocking future opportunities.
A further outcome of a better flow of communication, he said, would be the forging of stronger relationships between those operating in different parts of the red meat chain.
However, it is vital that those working in the industry maintain the confidence needed to seek out the opportunities which lie ahead.
“It will be important that those working in our industry don’t become undermined by the uncertainty which comes with this period of change,” said Mr Ashworth.
“There is no doubt that there will be changes which will be painful for some and there will be an inevitable period of adjustment and restructuring. However, there will also be opportunities and those willing to innovate and focus on technical improvements will seize these opportunities.”
However, Mr Ashworth emphasised that a supportive government, particularly in terms of export development and agricultural and food policies, would be a crucial factor in achieving this and he emphasised, the transition process would be a difficult period.
Looking at the figures revealed in the newly-published “Scottish Red Meat Industry Profile” Iain Macdonald, Senior Economics Analyst with QMS, said the overall output from the rearing of cattle, sheep and pigs recovered in 2016, having fallen in 2015.
“Scottish abattoirs handled slightly more prime cattle and considerably more mature cattle in 2016. With average carcase weights slipping back, annual beef production rose at a slower pace, but still reached a five-year high of 172,200 tonnes,” said Mr Macdonald.
Overall the total volume of meat produced in Scottish abattoirs fell by 0.5% compared with 2015 to around 218,850 tonnes. In total, 24 licensed red meat abattoirs operated in Scotland during 2016 generating a total turnover of £818.5 million.
This was down around £36 million, year-on-year, but total employment in abattoirs grew slightly to around 2,900, 40% of which are non-UK EU nationals.
To download the new profile, please click here.