The Scottish sheep industry needs to process more animals at home and develop markets outside of the European Union in order to meet future challenges, new research has found. The research was commissioned by the Scottish Government, and was carried out by, Kev Bevan, Steven Thomson and Dr Cesar Revoredo-Giha from SRUC, and Dr Andrew Moxey of Pareto Consulting, and aimed to assess the opportunities for increasing the number of sheep processed in Scotland.
Currently, a majority of Scottish-born sheep are slaughtered outside of the country –only 42 per cent of lambs and almost no ewes or rams were processed in Scotland in 2018. Most lamb is supplied to UK supermarkets and premium EU export markets, with only 7 per cent of marketed Scottish lambs slaughtered and consumed in Scotland.
Researchers found there were opportunities to grow Scottish sheep and lamb processing, by improving competitiveness through product development, pricing, promotion, technology and logistics among other things.
However, with the outcome of Brexit still unclear, researchers warned that demand for lamb and mutton could be seriously cut if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement maintaining access to continental markets.
The full report can be read here.