Farming representatives have called on government to launch a supply chain review covering the broiler sector, following the announcement a similar review would be carried out in the egg sector.
Speaking at the Egg & Poultry Industry Conference (EPIC) earlier this week, Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union told delegates the broiler sector was treated as a “poor relation”.
“We need the minister to commit to the same review for the broiler sector,” she said.
Producers were struggling, she said, with “countless examples” of growers “locked into energy contracts” that meant they were getting poor returns for their poultry meat. The NFU’s farmer confidence survey showed it was at an all time low, added Batters. “Short term confidence levels are down 34%.”
Mark Spencer MP, the farming minister, told delegates the egg supply chain review announced in early November would help ensure fairness. “It is critical to highlight unfair practices,” he said. “We want transparency and fairness. Defra is committed to supporting the egg and poultry sectors,” he said.
In a question and answer session, James Mottershead, chair of the NFU’s national poultry board, asked Spencer when the government would launch a supply chain review for the poultry meat sector, as it as also done for dairy and pigs, as well as eggs.
Spencer responded he wanted to “get the egg one done”, and did not commit to a similar review for poultry meat. He added: “I hope we are sending a really firm message to processors and retailers we want to see fairness in the supply chain. There is a willingness if not a desire in government to legislate where there has been exploitation and unfairness. I hope we are sending a robust message we want to see risk and reward spread throughout the chain.”