2003 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
Good afternoon ladies, gentleman and distinguished guests, is it really a year since our last AGM? Doesn't time fly when you are having fun, and yes I have enjoyed the last twelve months, but there are a few contributing factors that have eased the passage, namely Douglas and the office staff, my convenors and executive committee, thanks for all the help and advice.
We continue to battle with the animal by-product regulations, Quid and our objection to the PGI. The man behind the by-products regulations is Mr. Ross Finnie, and what a shambolic farce the whole thing has turned out to be. Local councils in disarray, some councils enforcing the new regulations, some trying to come to terms with the implications, some making know movement at all, all rudderless with know help or direction from the powers above, and this is the sort of backdrop we are meant to work with.
The sort of situation where we are meant to make important decisions, forecast budgets and set our prices. How can we make the proper decisions when we don't know the costs, or the proper time of implementation, and what of the regional distortions, where certain areas may be subsidised and have unfair advantage over producers in other areas, is this fair competition.
I call on the Minister to have one rule for all, a fair price that everyone can work with, but that should also include the catering sector. If it is illegal for by-products to go into land fill it should be completely illegal, where the waste is sourced should not be an issue, one law for everyone, fair and square.
We are told the catering sector should fall into line within the next couple of years, why not now? We have heard these sort of stories before when we were going through licensing, once we had complied it all fell through, we won't sit quietly by a second time if the same tactics are applied. And may I urge members to carefully monitor the impact these extra costs are going to have on their businesses, you can't afford to let this eat into your profit margin and will have to put prices up to cover them.
Quid is out to consultation and we continue to monitor any progress that is being made. Although I sense more nonsense in the offing, how do you calculate your new meat declarations, by guessing the visual lean in your product? I say guessing because that is exactly what it calls on us to do. How long did it take for someone to think up something as unscientific as this? Has the world gone mad? Simple is best, new regulations should be easier to implement than old ones. We are looking to progress, whatever happened to good old common sense, or has that been superseded by some new complicated European formula as well?
Our objection to the PGI has been lodged and we await some more answers from Brussels. Well may you cringe, but this time it isn't Europe trying to force something on us, it's our own countrymen. Maybe they feel we don't have enough red tape or problems to contend with so are trying to instigate some themselves, just to keep us on our toes.
But as well as trouble there is also hope. The Promotions Committee and the Executive have been working in areas as yet uncharted by the Federation, for a while now we have felt that the promotions side of the Federation needed a boost. We desperately need to move forward. I don't want to steal Jan's thunder but we felt we needed to promote the businesses more than the products.
In store promotions have there place but they only reach our existing customer base. We need to reach out and connect with other shoppers. Under the watchful eye of our Promotions Convenor Duncan Mackenzie we hope that item 17 on the agenda re-invigorating the Scottish independent butcher trade presented by Jan deans will grab hold of your attention.
Of course budgets will apply, hard work will have to be done to achieve what we want to achieve, but it would mark a brave and bold move to put the butchers shop back on peoples shopping list. We know the good work that is done in the shops, it's time to shout about it, and not just within the confines of our own premises. We need to move out into the bigger market place to promote ourselves, and let everyone know the benefits of visiting a craft butchers shop.
Ladies, Gentleman, distinguished guests and members