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Poultry Feels the Squeeze

by 5m Editor
27 March 2009, at 8:38am

UK - More investment is needed to safeguard the future of British chicken and ensure a continued supply of fresh, high-quality meat, says a new report commissioned by the NFU and UK broiler growers.

'A Sustainable Future for British Chicken', written by Savills, shows that periods of steady loss from 2004-2008 have led to little investment in the broiler sector, particularly for new chicken housing. It found input costs had risen dramatically during the last five years - but margins had failed to keep pace.

Figures also show a breakdown of the retail price for chicken in 2008, with producers receiving just a quarter of available margin, compared to the retailer share of around 50 per cent.

Among recommendations, the document calls for a benchmarking of production costs, the introduction of an independent costing service and reduction of waste and inefficiencies in the supply chain.

NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said: "We saw a need for this report to hammer home the real situation facing our British poultry producers. Despite having a will to reinvest in this sector British chicken producers are lacking the means.

"Costs for investing in new poultry sites for example have more than doubled in the past ten years but this is what we need to do to ensure a vibrant sector in the future."

Ashley Lilley, an agribusiness consultant from Savills said: "Having completed the report, we hope that it acts as a catalyst to move the debate forward. It is in everyone's interest to see more joint working across the whole of the supply chain to achieve positive benefits for all involved.

"We must avoid a repeat of events in the pig and dairy sectors where many farmers are leaving the industry each year. Only by working together throughout the whole supply chain, incorporating longer term equitable contracts, will we achieve the long-term confidence and much-needed investment in British chicken."

Further Reading

- You can view the report, A Sustainable Future for British Chicken, by clicking here.