Poultry farmers, processors and politicians recently gathered in the House of Commons to review 2007 and to recognise distinguished service to the poultry sector.
BPC Chairman Ted Wright addressed the crowd, which included Jonathan Shaw MP, Junior Minister at DEFRA. Wright argued that whilst the outbreak of avian influenza in Suffolk has been making all the headlines, a potentially much greater threat to the future of the British poultry industry had been unfolding.
â€œAvian influenza has masked the real poultry story in 2007, which is the dramatic increase in feed prices, and the impact which that has had on the viability of all types of poultry production,â€œ he said.
â€œThe British poultry meat sector is highly integrated, with a very short supply chain, and real cost efficiencies,â€œ he continued, â€œbut these efficiencies can only soak up so much and the choice facing retailers amounts to allowing a modest price rise now, or doing nothing and losing Britain’s capacity to supply fresh quality poultry meat in the foreseeable future.â€œ
According to Wright, no part of the supply chain can afford to think short-term when issues of feed availability and price may be with us for years to come. The situation experienced due poor global cereal harvest in 2007 will occur again in the future as climate change slowly alters the flow of feed and foodstuffs.
â€œThe British poultry sector deserves greater recognition for the nutritional health and environmental benefits it brings to society. But without an urgent and sustained increase in the prices paid to poultry producers to cover massive rises in the cost of feed, those benefits are in serious jeopardy,â€ Wright concluded.