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Poland’s poultry sector suffers because of the Covid-19

Europe’s largest broiler meat producer, Poland could see its poultry industry collapsing because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Polish National Poultry Council – Chamber of Commerce (KRD-IG) said in its Twitter account.

The most recent statistical data shows that from mid-March to mid-April the average EU price for broiler meat has fallen 8.4% while in Poland it slumped by 37%, the KRD-IG said.

Export restrictions prompted domestic market being flooded with broilers

Export restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to an additional 40 million broilers per month landing on the domestic market, sparking an oversupply crisis, the KRD-IG warned. The coronavirus pandemic made it near to impossible to sell eggs, chicks or raised birds outside of Poland, which could lead to a wave of bankruptcies in the industry, the KRD-IG said.

With exports halted, there are too many broilers flooding the Polish market. Photo: Theo Galema
With exports halted, there are too many broilers flooding the Polish market. Photo: Theo Galema

Slump in demand for poultry

On top of the export market, the Polish poultry industry sees a slump in demand on the domestic market as well, Dariusz Goszczynski, director of the KRD-IG told to the local news outlet Portal Spozywczy. The KRD-IG sent a letter to the Polish Agricultural Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski asking to provide subsidies for meat storage to the local farmers who are not able to export their products because of the Covid-19 during the 2-month quarantine period, Goszczynski said. The storage capacity is needed for up to 200,000 tonnes of poultry meat in total, he estimated. The KRD-IG is also asking the government to issue state aid to the country’s hatcheries, which were left without orders both by local farmers and by non-Poland businesses, Goszczynski said. The KRD-IG estimates that the Polish poultry industry could recover back to the pre-crisis production level by autumn of 2020, providing that some form of support is given now.

Will Poland remain the EU’s largest poultry meat producer?
As a result of growing demand, a USDA report estimates that in 2020, Polish chicken meat production will reach 2.2 million mt, representing a 1.5% increase over 2019. Despite this moderate growth, Poland will remain the EU’s largest poultry meat producer.

“The measures of the proposed bailout programme are temporary. We hope that the crisis will not last for long, as with the unfreezing of the global economy the demand for Polish poultry would also go upwards.” Goszczynski said. “The peculiarity of poultry farming is that you are not able to stop or significantly reduce production overnight. The goal of the measures we came up with is to prevent the destruction of millions of live bird and processed product,” Goszczynski said. “The subsidy programme for the storage of poultry meat is designed to remove the surplus of products from the market, from which it could be gradually sold if demand returns to normal,” he added.