Europe’s farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, has told EU poultry sector leaders that it is “absolutely vital” for the industry and the European Commission to work together to develop new export market opportunities for producers.
“It is clear that exports are vital for your businesses,” he told AVEC (the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU Countries) during its annual meeting in Lisbon.
“Currently, the EU exports around 11% of its total production and I am aware that competition on the world market is strengthening, with Brazil and the USA, in particular, representing strong competition for EU producers.”
Commissioner Hogan also sought to assure AVEC delegates that he understood their industry and was well aware of the range of political issues which were currently given them concern.
On the impact of global animal welfare standards, for example, he said that he understood this was one of the reasons why production costs in Brazil and the USA were 68% and 78%, respectively, lower than in the EU.
“For this reason, elements such as animal welfare and food safety practices are taken into account in the evaluation of the access that can be granted to the US and Mercosur producers in each sensitive sector,” he said.
“I am also following, with increasing concern, the situation relating to a potential introduction of safeguard measures by South Africa on poultry imports from the EU. Please rest assured that I am well aware of the economic importance of the South African market for the EU poultry industry.”
He also acknowledged the industry’s concerns over the level of poultry imports from Ukraine and the fact that Ukrainian poultry is not yet subject to the same animal welfare rules as those applied in the EU.
Avian influenza, the Russian embargo and Vietnam also all earned a mention in his wide-ranging address, culminating in the conclusion that he believed prospects for the poultry sector “will remain strong”, based on the concerted joint efforts of the industry and the EU.
Headline image shows Mr Hogan responding to media interest in the wake of his AVEC address