By Matt Donald, pig & poultry producer, north Yorkshire
I had the pleasure of attending the NFU conference in February and it was great to be back there in person, seeing friends old and new and having the ability to network. The poultry breakout session was well attended and thankfully, full of optimism.
As Philip Wilkinson of 2sisters Food Group pointed out, poultry is in a great position to feed the world. “Global demand for meat protein will double in the next 30 years,” he said. For me as a younger farmer, beginning my farming career, I see this as a fantastic opportunity.
Consumer spending on food is only 10% of average earnings, which is one of the lowest levels in the world. Perhaps it is time for this to change? We need a fair farmgate price. Later in the conference it was pointed out by Dr Theo De Jager that if farming is not profitable, it is not sustainable. This could not be more true.
As we see escalating inflation on inputs, spare funds within poultry enterprises are being squeezed. After all, a business not reinvesting, is standing still. As an industry, we work, because we all move forwards together, and if we are to double meat protein production in 30 years, we have no time to stand still.
With events in Ukraine escalating as I write this, it is very worrying for our business where feed prices are going. Known as the breadbasket of Europe, the country exports 20m tonnes of wheat a year. We are involved in the pig industry, which faces a mass exodus if prices do not move up, and fast. It is sad to see farms closing down that just cannot survive the current situation of a perfect storm of difficulties
There is only one way poultry can prevent a similar scenario. The consumer must pay more for a chicken than they do a cup of coffee.