"Brittany is heading for disaster"

Philippe Mangin, president of Coop de France, the umbrella organisation for all French cooperatives in the food and agro-industry has issued strong words on the state of the French agricultural sector.

"We are heading straight towards a new disaster in the meat industry in Brittany with GAD, Doux and Tilly-Sabco. Everybody is asking themselves how we can get out of the dire situation. The probable take-over of abattoir and meat processor GAD by supermarket chain Intermarché is not really such a good thing. It's only in France that retailers are investing in the meat industry. That happens nowhere else and in Great Britain it's even forbidden. On the short term a new start for GAD might save some jobs but we are worried about the repercussions on the longer term."

Mangin is one of many who are warning about the dark future of the meat industry and the pig and poultry sectors in this part of France. That is the more important since Brittany houses most of the intensive livestock industry in the country.

Apart from the current problems at GAD, one of the major players in the Breton pig industry (see other story in this newsletter), the two major players in de poultry sector, Groupe Doux and Tilly-Sabco, are also in deep trouble. Both companies have suffered huge financial losses, mainly because the European Commission decided last year to stop subsidising the export of frozen chicken to third countries.

Doux, now partly owned but one of its major customers from Saudi-Arabia, already laid off hundreds of employees while staff at Tilly-Sabco currently only work one day a week.  Earlier, the director of that company threatened to close the operations down altogether if there was no help. Mangin: "Doux still has debts of 180 million euro for which nobody seems to have a solution. At Tilly-Sabco, the people only work one day a week. And the cooperations of the producers – pig and poultry farmers – are totally in the mist, the producers themselves are immensely worried."

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