By FWi staff

EAST Anglias pig and poultry industry is apparently “resilient”, despite the slump in profits experienced by small and medium-sized businesses.

Half of pig and poultry businesses in the region intend to expand, and half expect to diversify, claims a study by Business Link Suffolk.

The study found that the UK poultry market grew by only 1% in volume from 1996 to 97, but the retail value rose by 11%.

The study found that the sectors strengths were its efficiency of scale and an ability to oversee the whole production process up to the point of retail sale.

But the industry could be hampered because it produces a basic commodity product and many processes are difficult to automate.

This results in dependence on manual labour and a workforce which is sometimes poor and unreliable.

The study recommends that producers should stimulate more business, especially for value-added products

Farmers should also encourage exports, develop niche markets, and exploit the quality and safety of UK meat as a marketing platform, the report concludes.