UK: Economic pressure on chicken producers

26-11-2007 | | |

In a letter to The Times, Ted Wright, Chairman of the British Poultry Council, has expressed his concerns regarding a huge threat to the future of the British poultry industry.

“While 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 has quietly been unfolding,” it was stated in the letter.
“We are referring to the recent dramatic increase in feed prices, and the impact which that has had on the viability of all types of poultry production, but of chickens in particular,” he said.
According to Wright, feed and day-old chick costs account for approx. 82% of the cost of growing a broiler. So, he says, the recent 30% hike in poultry feed prices has increased production costs by 25% overall. Consequently, chicken prices need to rise by at least 8p per 1 kg to cover the increase in feed costs.
“The choice facing the retailers amounts to allowing a modest price rise now, or doing nothing and letting a real shortage develop, which it assuredly will, as producers give up in the face of overwhelming losses.”
Time is short
“One of the largest producers of broiler chickens is having to get rid of over 500,000 young birds in the next 10 days because no one can afford to rear them. That serves as a stark warning of what will happen if retailers ignore the economic realities of chicken production.”
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