A private storage aid scheme for the Scottish pig industry could be in place as soon as early November in an effort to help the ailing sector manage the backlog of animals on farms.
The Scottish Government announced the introduction of the scheme which will allow a large quantity of pig meat to be minimally processed and then stored and reintroduced to the food chain or exported at a later date.
Support to increase abattoir throughput is also in the pipeline.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said that enabling processors to store product for a fixed period would reduce product wastage at a challenging time for the industry.
The announcement was welcomed by Martin Morgan, the executive manager of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW)
He said: “The supply chain currently faces a number of challenges on a variety of fronts so any assistance the Scottish Government can add to what is on offer down south will help provide a much needed degree of stability in Great Britain.
“However the duration of the scheme needs to be carefully managed so we close it at the right time and avoid creating further turbulence for producers and processors.”
Pig farmers will benefit from a temporary levy holiday in November.
Meanwhile the National Pig Association (NPA) says all major UK retailers have responded to an open letter, sent by association chairman Rob Mutimer earlier this month, urging them to take steps to support the British pig farming sector.
In his letter, Mr Mutimer called on retailers to prioritise British pork through their plants and to divert butchery staff, who have been working on imported EU pork or on products such as gammons for Christmas, back to British pigs to get the supply chain moving again.
The NPA said most major retailers had responded to say they were committed to stocking British pork and supporting the sector.