SAMW spell out CAP Reform risk
The UK Government’s intransigence on the future role of coupled support for livestock producers is placing every link in the meat chain at risk warns the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW).
Association president Alan McNaughton, speaking at the Royal Highland Show, delivered a sharply worded response to UK Minister of State David Heath’s reported comment that belief in coupled payments was ‘for the birds’.
“Not only does such a view fly in the face of the commercial reality of what every meat plant owner in the land has experienced in the past eight years, it also insults the intelligence of every industry specialist who has spoken out against the UK Government’s deeply unhelpful approach to the livestock sector aspects of CAP Reform,” said Mr McNaughton.
“If the UK’s opposition to coupled support prevails in the final CAP settlement, damage will be done right across the meat chain. UK producers will be left at a severe disadvantage to their major competitors, especially France; processors will be left to choose between domestic and export business, as there won’t be sufficient stock available to satisfy both sectors; and retailers will be left with a pricing choice which can only go one way, upwards.
“Ministers Paterson and Heath are negotiating the UK meat industry’s exit from global business, shutting the doors on export growth and development and turning out the lights on businesses which have won admirers across the world but have insufficient supplies to satisfy sales demands.
“This may not fit with DEFRA’s view of coupled support and market economics, but the commercial reality of the past eight years is that those countries which have used coupled support to encourage production have seen stock numbers remain secure, at worst, and increase in some cases. At the same time, UK production continues to decline with even prices reaching £4 a kg failing to produce any evidence of a shift in production attitudes.
“Neither are we a lone voice on this issue, fighting our corner purely for our own commercial reasons. No, this is a united industry stance by a farm-to-plate chain which actually understands how business works. I don’t think we’re the ones whose views are ‘for the birds’.”