NFU says poultry sector faces exciting future

As the biggest UK meat sector, the poultry industry must continue to demonstrate why it should be seen as exciting and innovative, National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Peter Kendall said.

Speaking at the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference in Warwickshire earlier this month, Kendall highlighted that the increasingly competitive sector was also building capacity to feed a growing UK population.

He added that the industry had huge future potential and was facing a number of exciting opportunities. “Let’s create an environment which really means poultry businesses have the confidence and opportunity to invest,” he told the conference. “Let’s address market failure and iron-out volatility to enable the entire food supply chain to grow.”

According to Kendall, the horsemeat scandal earlier in the year was also a great opportunity for the sector, as supermarkets looked to shorten their supply chains and stock more British produce. “Consumers are increasingly showing their support for British farming so we need to continue to promote British poultry as an affordable, healthy, versatile protein,” he said.

However, he was not oblivious to the difficulties the sector would face in delivering “this exciting future”. He urged that a fair and better functioning supply chain would be key to gaining transparency, as well as getting more British food on British plates.

Kendall also pointed out the physical barriers to the sector and said it needed to “overcome planning issues” in order to build higher-welfare sheds. “We need to access competitively priced feed, but most of all we must be able to attract young people to this technological sector. We must work together to ensure any breaks in these developments are addressed as speedily as possible.”

He concluded: “I’m really optimistic that the poultry industry can embrace these challenges and has a bright future.”