The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has said its members are deeply concerned Moy Park will be reducing production in Northern Ireland (NI). The slaughter of live birds is to be suspended at the company’s site in Ballymena, Co Antrim. The cost and accessibility of raw materials, energy prices and labour availability have been cited as the reasons for this decision.
“Our members are extremely disappointed and worried about Moy Park pulling back on production here. It is the second time this has happened in less than three years and will create ongoing income pressures,” said UFU deputy president William Irvine said.
“Poultry producers have been hit hard in recent times and they’ve been exhausting every avenue to sustain their family farm businesses. Moy Park has said that they aim to get the slaughtering of live birds in the Ballymena site going again in September when a major contract with Sainsbury’s will begin, but in the meantime, we will be liaising closely with Moy Park to ensure this is managed with minimal impact.
“It’s important that consumers understand that the increasing input costs to produce food is going to affect the cost of food for them. Neither farmers or processors can produce food, meeting extra production costs, without receiving a fair return from the marketplace. Therefore, it’s going to have a rippling affect down the food chain.”
A spokesperson for Moy Park said: “As we respond to customer growth and labour market challenges, we are proposing to move team members from the live bird processing line to our further processing lines, enabling us to increase production at Ballymena.
“No jobs will be impacted by these changes however we are planning to temporarily pause live bird processing at Ballymena as we focus on seasonal and retail products. The live processing line will restart again in September. We will be working closely with our farming partners throughout the process to manage this temporary reduction in poultry requirement.”