By Mark Williams, chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council
Businesses and industry enjoy certainty. It allows us to make informed decisions on investments, manage risk and plan for the future. Certainty is the panacea that is never there, but as much clarity as possible is what businesses can realistically expect as they make plans over a ten to fifteen year period.
Our industry can bemoan the lack of clarity currently, with a number of customers, NGOs, consumers and policy makers looking for an alternative to enriched colony cage egg production.
We, as industry, have to be forthcoming with clarity, and get the support of as many stakeholders as possible. This has to be balanced with keeping us competitive in the market place. Treading this tightrope is an unenviable position, but we cannot kick the can down the road.
BEIC is seeking to develop a Lion standard for barn production that would make investment viable and avoid the criticism levelled at enriched colony cage systems that will see their demise at retail level in 2025.
All parties should be willing to compromise given what is at stake and we are seeking assurances that we can go forward with the endorsement of as many parties as possible.
We do this against the backdrop of political uncertainty (Brexit), which is very much out of our hands. What is in our destiny, is to develop a system with the support of our customers and consumers. The primary purpose of egg production is to provide an affordable, natural and healthy food, produced to a low environmental footprint. This foresight will not be lost as we move through the uncertainty.