AVARA FOODS has said it will stop the sale of poultry litter from its supply chain to farms within the River Wye Special Area of Conservation.
The firm said that, as the largest poultry company in the area, “the onus is on us to manage our supply chain, set an example for others and to use what influence we have to support change”.
Contracts will be changed so that any litter sold as fertiliser is instead sold to a business outside the catchment, which comprises the Upper and Lower Wye river, and the Lugg.
In addition, about 25-30 farms within the Avara Foods supply chain that also have arable land and wish to use litter as fertiliser will join a pilot group trialling a new Red Tractor Assurance standard.
Avara Foods chief executive Andy Dawkins outlined the changes in a letter to producers.
“The primary reason for this change is, I would hope, self-evident,” he wrote.
“The continued deterioration of the Wye has been well reported and, while the root causes are many and complex, the role of phosphate, from poultry litter in particular, has been the focal point of many campaigns.
“You will hopefully have seen our roadmap and understand our commitment to make sure that our supply chain is demonstrably not part of the problem by 2025.
“Our long-term aim is unchanged: to support sustainable solutions within the catchment that contribute to circular economies and create additional value from poultry litter.
“Clearly, these are taking some time to develop, and we are in a position where we need to act urgently while the long-term solutions come to fruition.”