The Scottish red meat industry is set to benefit from a €1.2 million (£861,000) grant secured from the European Commission (EC) by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
The EC has approved the two year grant to support activities to promote Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI in Great Britain and five important European markets – Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden.
Uel Morton, Chief Executive of Quality Meat Scotland, said the organisation was absolutely delighted to receive the news of its successful application for EU funding.
“The key to unlocking this European funding is the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status we have for Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and the quality standards set out in our assurance schemes are essential for us to maintain that PGI status.
“It is important that our industry is aware of this additional value quality assurance brings and continues to support us with our on-going recruitment campaign to encourage farmers who are not members of our quality assurance schemes to understand their importance to the future of our industry.”
This is the fourth time QMS has been successful in partnering with the European Union to promote Scotland’s quality beef and lamb under the PGI scheme.
The countries in which the promotion activity will be delivered were identified as export priorities following an export strategy review conducted by QMS during 2011.
Mr Morton also voiced appreciation of the effort staff at QMS had devoted to pursuing the successful application.
“Our marketing team at QMS committed considerable time and energy to ensuring we were able to submit a very good application with great attention to detail.
“Our small administration team has also worked hard to develop effective systems for managing the complex claims procedures involved in this sort of funding. It is therefore hugely rewarding to hear the news that we have been successful.”
Laurent Vernet, Head of Marketing with QMS, added: “The programme totals €2.4 million over its two year term co-financed by the Scottish red meat industry levy and the European Commission. The grant application process started last year and involved collating a detailed and precise programme of planned activities that QMS is now committed to delivering over the next two years. There are five types of activities scheduled for these six countries: design, production of point of sale material, distribution of point of sale material, advertisement and events/public relations.”
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said: “Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI are rightly renowned for their delicious taste, fantastic quality and unrivalled provenance. We know there is a great global appetite for these protected products and previous EU grants secured by QMS have enabled exports of Scotch Beef and Lamb to secure a real premium presence in the French and Italian markets.
“This new grant will help promote them achieve the same status in other key European target markets as Scotland celebrates our Year of Food and Drink, and beyond. This award also highlights the benefits of protected status and membership of a quality assurance scheme, and I’d encourage any producers who aren’t currently signed up to consider doing so.”
NFU Scotland Vice President Rob Livesey, a beef farmer from the Scottish Borders said: "I congratulate the team at QMS for securing a further round of funding to drive forward the promotional effort around Scotch beef and Scotch lamb in these important home and European markets.
“This award emphasises the importance of our PGI status, which recognises the unparalleled integrity offered by farm assured livestock, produced and prepared to the very highest standards by dedicated professional farmers and processors in Scotland.
"To fulfil the potential demand that any promotional initiative will create, farmers must do their bit to provide the raw material and processors need to gear up with confidence. Promotional campaigns bestowing the benefits of the Scotch brand will be vital in creating wider demand for our beef and lamb and in fulfilling the vision we have for growing Scotland's food and drink sectors.”