Government needs to do more to secure UK poultry exports

Government needs to do more to secure UK poultry exports

A survey by the British Poultry Council has found that only a quarter of members think the government is doing enough to secure UK poultry exports to growing markets. Half are not sure what the government is currently doing, while a further quarter thinks the government needs to do more.

The findings come after the Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne led a major British trade delegation to China in December 2013.

BPC chief executive, Andrew Large.

BPC chief executive, Andrew Large: “Increasing exports is an important priority if the industry is to thrive in the future.”

Confidence in the industry’s future is stable, with 70% of BPC members feeling “about the same” as they did six months ago on how they view the industry’s prospects. Members feel more confident about the future of their business than about the whole industry (40% vs. 20%). No one feels less confident about the future of the industry or their business. The single most important factor behind the industry’ future prospects continues to be consumer demand (70%), followed by regulatory burdens and skills investment (10%).

Production levels have slightly increased over the last six months, according to 40% of BPC members. 60% said there had been a major change in production costs over the past six months, with virtually all respondents reporting that feed prices have stabilised over the period, which has resulted in reduced production costs.

Andrew Large, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, commented: “The British poultry industry’s prospects remain broadly positive, with a welcome reduction in feed costs recently. While domestic demand remains strong, increasing exports is an important priority if the industry is to thrive in the future.

“We welcome the commitment of Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, to grow UK poultry exports and remove the burdens which are holding them back. Yet while the political will exists, DEFRA is suffering from staffing issues which have negatively affected its ability to efficiently process veterinary health certificates in priority markets. These are holding back the UK poultry industry’s ability to sell more internationally.”

The industry continues to invest in core training and skills, particularly among young people. 78% of members say they have a formal apprenticeship scheme in place, up from 50% in summer 2013, with all respondents saying they are on track to recruit the number of apprentices outlined in their business plan. In addition, 44% say that the skills base within their organisation has increased over the past six months.

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