EU farm ministers signed off new legislation this week giving the EU Commission powers to compensate producers for losses of income due the impact of avian flu on demand for eggs and poultry meat, but DEFRA has ruled out any sector aid for the UK.

Under the new rules, the EU will fund half of the compensation – not 100% as originally requested by the European Parliament – with the remaining half financed by the Member State’s national budget. It will be up to member states to submit their proposals for sector aid.

Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “Some countries have suffered a serious drop in consumption and prices in the poultry sector which could not be adequately compensated with the existing tools.

“In my view, the most sensible approach would be to compensate producers for measures which temporarily reduce production.”

Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, believes there is justification for DEFRA to submit a proposal. 

He said: “Parts of the industry have been hit hard with low prices – and we have maintained consumer confidence at a considerable cost.”    

However, DEFRA told Poultry World that it does not plan to submit a proposal at this point in time.

A spokeman added: “We are monitoring the market closely and it seems to be holding up well.”

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