Latvias largest poultry processor, Putnu fabrika Ķekava, is ready to reduce the density of farmed birds per square meter and extend the grow-out period as per new welfare standards currently discussed by politicians, even though these measures would increase production costs and prices, Andrius Pranckevics, Chairman of the Board of Putnu fabrika Ķekava told local press.
Keeping broilers longer at lower density could double production costs. Photo: Lex Salverda
Ķekava currently keeps birds for 40 days, while some countries have already extended the duration of the production cycle to 60-70 days for the sake of matching better welfare standards.
Coupled with the lower density, this measure is expected to tremendously raise production costs. “From the technical point of view, this is not difficult to do, but unfortunately, the prices will rise,” Pranckevic said. “We are ready for these steps, and we have even calculated when and how we can start working on them. The population and supermarkets must be prepared that the prices of meat will go up,” he added.
Pranckevic estimated that in the worst-case scenario, the price of poultry products on grocery shelves would double. “This is a significant increase, so politicians need to think twice and take all consequences into account. Both bird welfare and sustainability have to be considered when making such decisions. If the price doubles, I do not think it is sustainable given the population’s purchasing power. That’s why I believe this should be introduced gradually,” said Pranckevic.