Price surge puts EU poultry meat production at risk

A poultry farm in Lelystad, the Netherlands. Photo: Ton Kastermans
A poultry farm in Lelystad, the Netherlands. Photo: Ton Kastermans

Operators in the poultry meat supply chain are struggling to maintain production levels because of very high energy and feed prices. AVEC president, Paul Lopez, asks decision-makers to prioritise food and poultry meat production to guarantee affordable and continuous supply in the coming weeks.

Poultry meat producers are affected all along the supply chain by an unprecedented increase in costs of energy (especially natural gas, fuel, and electricity), CO2, packaging, and external labour, which threaten the continuity of production.

Energy and gas supply are particularly critical for the primary breeding of poultry to maintain the welfare of the birds. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also resulted in a substantial rise in the price of feed, which represents 70% of the production cost of poultry. This has led to a situation where farmers may opt to stop production in the coming weeks rather than take the risk of big financial losses. There are huge difficulties in passing the additional costs through the supply chain, so the support of the authorities is urgently needed.

Crucial sector

Policymakers should continue to prioritise the poultry meat sector for access to both energy and feed, similar to the Covid-19 crisis when poultry was considered a crucial sector. However, access to energy and feed material is not sufficient. If affordable and stable prices cannot be guaranteed, the survival of the sector is at stake. The EU Commission must support member states to intervene to bring energy prices to reasonable levels, increase liquidity on energy markets, diversify energy supply, and look for solutions such as placing a cap on prices for energy/feed.

Lopez: ‘’Sustainable production is our priority, and we see our sector as part of the solution when it comes to climate change. Therefore, we ask the authorities to strongly support our sector to develop and accelerate the transition towards sustainable sources of energy, to limit the dependence on foreign fossil fuel and feed suppliers, and increase the resilience of the sector.’’

Fabian Brockotter Editor in Chief, Poultry World