Stores told of paltry poultry margins

29 August 2000

Stores told of paltry poultry margins

By FWi staff

SUPERMARKET chiefs have been sent figures comparing poultry production costs with farmgate prices to illustrate the threat facing the industry.

The data, sent by the National Farmers Union, shows that poor prices endured by farmers for the last three years show no sign of improving.

According to the NFU, caged egg producers are losing an average 17.6p per dozen and poultry meat is barely covering its costs.

While average egg production costs per dozen are 44.5p, ministry of agriculture weighted average price from the packer to producer is only 26.9p.

The NFU has sent the figures with a letter from NFU Poultry committee chairman Charles Bourns as a “wake up call” to retailers.

Mr Bourns says real commitment is needed to protect the future of this unsupported sector, which has invested heavily to meet customer expectations.

Investments include meeting farm assurance schemes requirements, environmental and welfare legislation costs, and up to 16m on the Lion brand quality initiative.

Egg producers also now need to make a financial commitment to meet the demands of the new EU Directive to move to even higher welfare standards.

Mr Bourns said: “There is a very real concern that this on-going situation will lead to an irretrievable contraction in British supply.

The NFU is now arranging meetings with the supermarkets to discuss the figures and the future for the industry.

Mr Bourns said he hoped this will lead to genuine initiatives that will help increase demand further and improve returns to farmers.”

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