UK poultry farmers uncertain due to decline in export
Poultry industry confidence has been knocked by a decline in exports, according to a new survey from the British Poultry Council (BPC) the results of which have been released this week.
15.4% of respondents said they felt slightly less confident than 6 months ago about the future of the UK poultry meat industry and 23% felt similarly about the future of the business they work for. In comparison, six months ago no respondents felt less confident in either the industry or their individual businesses.
Over the last six months 46% of respondents have seen an increase in sales to retail customers, but 23% have seen a decline in sales to traders normally destined for export. For around half of respondents the volume of production and imports for processing saw no change. A little over one third (38.5%) of respondents had noticed a slight decrease in the availability of sufficient skilled labour.
Looking ahead the industry is more positive about future demand for UK poultry meat with 62% believing they would see a slight increase in sales to retailers and 38% to food service customers over the next six months. However against the backdrop of the trade impacts of the UK outbreak of avian influenza, sales over the next six months to exporting traders are expected to decline according to 23% of the industry, while 30% of the industry said they would see no change. This offers some explanation as to why around half of respondents said they would see no change in volume of production.
Respondents to the survey also ranked the most important BPC policy priority areas as the following:
- Reducing the presence of Campylobacter
- Enhancing the reputation of the British poultry industry and raising awareness of its economic and social contribution
- Minimising the impact of legalisation
- Supporting trade
- Working on changes to the EU meat inspection regime.
Commenting on the survey results, Andrew Large, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council said:
"This survey shows that both the industry and individual members companies continue to have confidence in their futures. The reported decline in export trade is a matter for concern however, and it throws into sharp relief the need for the UK to regain its Avian Influenza disease free status as quickly as possible." "The priority placed on campylobacter reduction in this survey is indicative of the very real efforts that members are making to reduce the prevalence of campylobacter in chicken."
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