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NFU calls for poultry price rise

by 5m Editor
10 May 2006, at 12:00am

UK - A report launched today by the NFU says the British chicken industry is not financially sustainable.

NFU calls for poultry price rise - UK - A report launched today by the NFU says the British chicken industry is not financially sustainable.

The NFU warns that the British chicken industry, worth £3 billion at retail, and the strongest in Europe, will not survive in the current climate. Over the last few years farmers have experienced continuous downward price pressure whilst input costs like energy and labour have increased.

The NFU says a price increase* is the only way to secure continued production of British farm-assured Red Tractor chicken for UK consumers. Peter Kendall, NFU president, said: “The British chicken industry has been a great success story. It has grown year on year with consumer demand and produces an excellent product, promoted by the industry. However, as the product price is squeezed and input costs soar, the farmer is left with little over the cost of production. This means the industry cannot modernise and invest and I’m sorry to say it may mean farmers going out of business with an obvious impact for long term supply.

“That is why this report – British Chicken – What Price? – calls on the customers of the poultry supply chain to increase the price paid to that chain, to meet consumer demand for British chicken, while achieving a margin over production to invest in the industry’s future.” The problem has been made worse over the last few months with Avian Influenza in Europe. Ironically it has had no impact on the sale of chicken in the UK.

The industry has another regulatory cost looming on the horizon. The new Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (IPPC) will add further cost to an already stretched industry. The IPPC legislation aims to prevent and control emissions to air, land and water, and to address energy efficiency, the consumption of raw materials, noise and site restoration. All of this means investment for farmers, many of whom will not be able to cover the costs.

Charles Bourns, NFU poultry board chairman, said: “The industry has worked hard to achieve a good environmental record and has already entered into climate change agreements to cut down energy use.

"The industry has also been involved in the development of the new IPPC legislation for poultry farms. But the introduction of these new regulations at this delicate time for the industry could mean the end for many producers. We are therefore asking for a delayed implementation of the IPPC, or at least for the costs to be mitigated and any charges or fees waived.

“We are urging the Government, through Defra and the Environment Agency, to support this urgent request and to champion the Poultry industry’s concerns in the European Union. In its current state, the UK poultry industry, quite simply, cannot afford to meet any additional legislative costs.”

Further Information

To read the full report: "British Chicken – What Price?" click here

5m Editor