More than 50 Northern Ireland egg producers and packers took part a recent Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) meeting to voice their concerns over the decision by major retailers to end their sourcing of enriched colony eggs by 2025.
The main issue raised during the meeting surrounded current levels of debt in the sector with the UK poultry industry having only recently completed a £400 million upgrade from battery cages to enriched colony systems.
“With that investment now having been made, however, producers face uncertainty,” said the UFU, “due to lack of clarity from retailers on what production system they want in the future.”
As a result of the strength of industry feelings voiced during the meeting, the union is planning to discuss the issue with the British Egg Information Council (BEIC), specifically to ensure that the 2025 change is managed carefully.
UFU is also committed to seeking “further information” from retailers, so that producers will have more clarity about what is happening.
“We will also be urging banks and government to ensure support is available to the sector as it deals with this major change of approach,” said the union.