IFA Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan said poultry growers are caught in a classic cost-price squeeze that has to be addressed urgently.
Family farms that produce Bord Bia Quality Assured chicken & eggs have seen their costs of production increase at an unprecedented rate in the past year.
European Commission data shows that the price of chicken has remained stagnant since 2017, while farm costs such as labour, electricity, water, insurance, and maintenance are up over 60% on this time last year.
Costs such as detergents, disinfectants, washing and bedding material are also up over 20% on this time last year for broiler farmers.
“Gas prices have soared. The cost per unit has increased by almost 40% over the past 18 months on my farm. The cost of energy, labour and animal feed have all seen inflation not witnessed by the sector in half a generation. Irish inflation shot to a 14-year high in October, which has had a damaging effect on the sector,” he said.
Vice-Chairman of the Poultry Committee Brendan Soden said farmers are very concerned about their future. Egg producers conducted a survey of members, asking them if they would recommend future generations continue to produce eggs. 80% of them answered in the negative.
According to the European Commission, the EU average price for egg has increased by 13.2%. However, Ireland is one of only two Member States where the price has decreased by 8.4% in the past 12 months, while feed costs are up 36% on last year. This is simply unsustainable.
Andy Boylan said growers are suffering and losing money. “Without an immediate increase in the wholesale retail price, to be passed back to egg and chicken producers, the entire sector is in jeopardy. We produce top quality, Bord Bia QA produce, at prices which are not sustainable. We intend to highlight the absolute necessity for our costs to be recovered from the food chain immediately.”
IFA has written to the retailers, requesting that producers’ costs be recovered and passed back to farmers to secure the survival of the sector. In the current climate, farmers are considering their options.