2 Sisters’ poultry plant closure highlights ‘conflicting messages’

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scottish government

A 2 Sisters spokesman said it was too early to draw long-term conclusions about the impact of its restructuring decision
A 2 Sisters spokesman said it was too early to draw long-term conclusions about the impact of its restructuring decision
Poultry suppliers to 2 Sisters Food Group’s Coupar Angus plant – slated for closure with the loss of 200 jobs – had received conflicting investment messages, according to the Scottish government.

Speaking after meeting poultry producers affected by the cuts, Richard Lochhead, rural affairs secretary, said today (November 28): “As well as the anticipated 200 job losses in Coupar Angus, poultry farmers supplying this plant and ​[the one] in Letham have been told that their contracts will be effectively cancelled from early next year.

“These are businesses who have been encouraged one minute to invest millions of pounds upgrading their facilities, and the next minute are facing an uncertain future, with no buyer for their chickens. This clearly has severe implications for the whole supply chain including grain producers and hauliers.”

But Lochhead added there was enough demand in Scotland for chicken to keep these producers in business. “Consumers want to buy Scottish chicken and a number of retailers are committed to stocking it.

‘Businesses have a future’

"The farmers I have met today are key to meeting that demand. We have agreed to work together to ensure these businesses have a future.”

But a spokesman for 2 Sisters said it was too early to draw conclusions about the long-term future of the Scottish poultry sector. “Since making our announcement last week, we made it very clear that we need to work with all parties – our colleagues, our agriculture partners, the National Farmers Union ​[NFU], and the Scottish government – to bring about a more prosperous future for the Scottish poultry industry.

“One week on, it is far too early to make assumptions about the full and long-term impact on the agricultural base, as our discussions are continuing. These discussions are also complex and involve many stakeholders in the supply chain.

“The facts are that we need to get our production facilities in Scotland lean, efficient and fit for the future. Only with stronger foundations can we then look towards building Scottish sales.”

2 Sisters pledged to work with the Scottish government in the coming weeks to deliver “the best possible outcomes”​ for all concerned.

‘Best possible outcomes’

Lochhead promised the Scottish government will help the affected poultry producers in any way it could. The government had agreed to fund a poultry producers’ group, which will study other opportunities for producers to supply chicken to the market.

“In the longer term, we’re setting up a working group – involving the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise, NFU Scotland and the poultry producers – to examine the future of the poultry industry in Scotland,”​ he said.

Scotland had first-class poultry producers that operated to high animal welfare standards to deliver high quality products to the market, continued Lochhead. “We can't afford to lose that. We want to ensure these farmers can stay in business ​[to ensure] that as much chicken that is consumed in Scotland is produced here.”

Meanwhile, speaking after the cuts were first announced​, the 2 Sisters spokesman said: “Taking no action would put the future of our industry in Scotland at serious risk.” ​The current situation was “unsustainable”, ​he added. 

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1 comment

2 Sisters conflicting reports

Posted by Steven Duthie,

2 Sisters have already closed some farms in Aberdeenshire (eg Sandynapps nr Mintlaw) and also are going to close farms in Turriff. Re-location has so far not been offered.

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