THE SCOTTISH Government has provided a £20,000 funding boost to Scottish Venison in the hope of increasing its share of the UK market.
The cash injection will enable market research to help venison producers and processors get a flavour of consumer demand for the game meat and identify commercial opportunities to ramp the sector up a gear.
The funding boost was announced to coincide with Scottish Venison Day on Wednesday a year on from the launch of Beyond the Glen, a strategy for Scottish Venison through to 2030.
The Scottish Venison Partnership has reformed and relaunched as the Scottish Venison Association headed by an Industry Leadership Group; wild deer health has been thoroughly examined in a project funded by Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland.
It is delivered by the Moredun Research Institute and Edinburgh University, with a final report to come in the next few months.
Deer health and handling skills training courses delivered by the Venison Advisory Service have been fully subscribed; and the British Deer Farms and Parks Association (BDFPA) Conference comes to Scotland in early November as interest in deer farming continues.
Bill Bewsher, Chairman of the Scottish Venison Association, said: “It is essential that we know exactly what is happening in the market, which is complex and changing, and as imports from New Zealand to the UK are declining.
“We believe we remain in a situation where UK demand outstrips supply, and where market growth is constrained by a shortage of product, wild or farmed.
“The research that we can now commission with the support of the Scottish Government will give us precise and current data on the state of the UK retail venison market.”
Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy said: “Scotland is the largest producer of Venison in the UK, producing around 3,500 tonnes of wild venison and 70 tonnes of farmed venison each year.
“With our reputation for provenance and quality we know that there are exciting market opportunities that beckon to help further grow the sector. I am delighted therefore to be able to offer £20k funding to the Scottish Venison Association to provide relevant market insight and help the sector grasp the opportunities that are out there.”