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EU farmers call for import control and breeding stock support

broiler drinking water

EUROPEAN FARMERS have called for poultrymeat and egg import restrictions to support domestic production through the coronavirus pandemic.

There are also calls for support for the wider poultry supply chain. Fewer birds placed is having a market impact on hatchery profitability and parent stock farmer returns.

With hotels, restaurants and caterers closed markets have been distorted, according to a new letter sent to the European Commission by Copa Cogeca.

See also: EU Chicken production and consumption set to grow in 2020

The group says the market for high-quality poultry products like duck, pigeon, quail or goose has all but vanished, chicken and turkey prices have dropped, and egg product sales have also been severely impacted.

Spain, for example, would typically have 10 million tourists every week visiting hotels and restaurants across the country during the tourist season.

While retail sales are up, it is not enough to mitigate the loss of market.

Despite this market disruption, Copa Cogeca says that imports of frozen poultrymeat have continued, and freezer stores across the continent are filling up.

‘Price pressure’

Charles Bourns, Copa’s working party chairman for poultry and eggs said there was the potential for an “oversupply crisis”.

“This situation will cause an oversupply crisis from the moment restaurants, hotels and catering are open again, as consumers will not go to eat out of home twice as much as they did before the crisis.

“This will put tremendous pressure on price.”

The organisation is calling for control of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) as a “strong market measure” to manage imports and prevent oversupply.

Genetics

It also said financial support to keep parent stock supplies and hatcheries operational, to prevent shortages in the coming months.

Avec has highlighted how a drop in demand for poultrymeat can have a lasting impact on the supply chain behind it.

INfographic
An Avec infographic detailing the impact of demand changes on the wider poultry industry