Communication vital in farmer-processor relationship
In Canada thousands of family run farms have supplier relationships with processors. A certain satisfactory level of trust and loyalty exists. Yet, all is not perfect. To increase the level of trust, communication and respect attention is necessary.
By Ronnie P. Cons, executive VP of C&C Packing Inc.
Canada’s chicken industry is regulated by a supply management system. It was established in Canada in the 70’s through federal and provincial legislation to make sure that farmers, mainly independent family farms, produce the right amount of safe, quality Chicken meat to meet consumer demand. It’s simple supply and demand: When the supply exceeds the demand the price drops to encourage the increased sale of chicken. This of course hurts the farmer as well as brings uncertainty to the market place. On the other hand when supply is too low, processors compete for supply, bringing prices up for the consumer. Thus supply management was implemented to help guarantee to processors and consumers a consistent supply of high quality chicken at stable prices and to protect the farmer. Farmers, processors, restaurant trade members from across Canada regularly meet to forecast market demand and then to set production levels.
All benefit of open and honest communication. Trust and appreciation must be enhanced: Farmers must be made to feel that the processor trusts them and appreciates their work in raising the chicks. They will, again, feel more like partners with the processor and be encouraged in their work. If there would be a general breakdown in trust then this would lead to a vertical integration movement where Farm to Plate would be more the ideal. This system involves the management of the whole system from hatching eggs to distribution by one firm. Some firms choose this option to maintain control on the quality and quantity of the chicken product, but Canada shows this is not the only system that works.
Read more in our next (digital) edition of World Poultry Magazine.
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