Report calls for investment in British chicken industry

More investment is needed to safeguard the future of British chicken and ensure a continued supply of fresh, quality poultrymeat, warned a new report commissioned by the NFU and UK broiler growers.

The report written by Savills shows that periods of sustained loss from 2004-2008 has led to little investment in the broiler sector, particularly for new chicken housing. Input costs have risen dramatically over the last five years, while margins have not increased to the same degree.

Figures also showed a breakdown of the retail price for chicken in 2008, with producers receiving just a quarter of available margin compared to the retailer share of around 50%. Broiler producers, led by the NFU, will now use the report to highlight key issues with retailers.

NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said: “We saw a need for this report to hammer home the real situation facing our British poultry producers.

“Despite having a will to reinvest in this sector British chicken producers are lacking the means. Costs for investing in new poultry sites for example have more than doubled in the past 10 years but this is what we need to do to ensure a vibrant sector in the future.”

One of the authors of the report, Ashley Lilley, added: “Having completed the report, we hope that it acts as a catalyst to move the debate forward.

“It is in everyone’s interest to see more joint working across the whole of the supply chain to achieve positive benefits for all involved. We must avoid a repeat of events in the pig and dairy sectors where many farmers are leaving the industry each year.

“Only by working together throughout the whole supply chain, incorporating longer term equitable contracts, will we achieve the long-term confidence and much-needed investment in British chicken.”

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