By Tom Glen, NFU Poultry Adviser
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, which is why events that bring poultry producers and industry together for discussion are so important for finding solutions to the challenges facing the industry. Listening to speakers from around the world at the recent IEC (International Egg Commission) business conference in Barcelona it was clear that many of the challenges we face in the UK are shared by poultry farmers across the globe.
Avian Influenza was high on the agenda, with discussions on a vaccination strategy progressing in the EU, North America and Asia. Whilst it’s vital that we don’t jeopardise our ability to trade, it’s also critical that the UK isn’t left behind, something the NFU continues to impress upon Defra via the UK’s AI Vaccination Taskforce.
Meeting producers from different countries also highlighted that AI compensation schemes on offer in countries such as the USA, Canada and the EU are more comprehensive than here. UK poultry producers must be given the tools and support needed to remain competitive, which is why a compensation scheme that is fit for purpose remains one of the NFU’s key lobbying asks.
Unsurprisingly, inflationary pressures and high input costs are being seen around the world. The US egg industry saw negative media reporting surrounding the increase in the price of eggs in supermarkets, portraying farmers as profiteering. It highlighted how important it is to have farming voices heard in mainstream media to get our story across to consumers. One of the NFU’s key work areas continues to be improving fairness and transparency in the supply chain, and continuing to engage with government, the media and consumers is a vital part of that.
The IEC conference ended on a positive note, highlighting that stabilising markets in the medium term as well as increased global demand provide opportunities for the poultry sector going forward. In the meantime, we will continue to work on behalf of members to ensure that poultry producers have the support from the government, supply chain, and consumers that they need in order to succeed.