FRANCE - The French poultry sector looks set for a major overhaul once the decision on the future of the French poultry processing company Doux is reached, writes editor-in-chief, Chris Harris.
French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll and the deputy for Mayenne and mayor of Laval Guillaume Garot this week met with members of parliament and Chairmen of Regional and General Councils from all political parties, to discuss the future of the French poultry group, Doux.
The meeting aimed to achieve a coherent and concerted approach from all public authorities concerned with the economic difficulties of Doux before the decision of the Commercial Court of Quimper, which is expected shortly.
The French agriculture ministry said that all the participants were able to express publicly their desire to form a united front to support the future of all company sites and employees, farmers and contractors, including carriers.
Once the decision of the commercial court is known, public bodies, state and local governments will work together to modernise the sector.
The ministry said that the challenge is how to build a new model for the poultry industry, which combines competitiveness, employment and environmental friendliness.
Earlier this week, Philippe Trache, a poultry farmer in the North and president of an association of poultry farmers of northern France, which includes the farmers involved with Doux in Picardie and Nord-Pas de Calais, told the French farming union, FNSEA, that he is now owed nearly €60,000 by Doux and is worried about the possible closure of the slaughterhouse of Grandcourt.
"It's been five years that Doux has been paying us late.
"We will probably never recover our debt, so you have to work harder."
"Poultry farmers in the North are still hanging on but I think in the future it will be difficult for those with big debts.
"For us it would be the worst now is to lose the slaughter of Grandcourt, the entire industry would be disorganised."
Jean Willem Coppoolse. a poultry farmer in Loiret and president of JA of Loiret, said that at 33, he is worried about the sustainability of his business.
"Today I have €98,000 of debt. I asked a lawyer for the federation of Loiret to make a dossier of the unpaid bills.
"Doux always paid me three months late.
"Fortunately, we have been paid by the court nominee since June 1."
According to the news agency, AFP, Barclays Bank is to take up 80 per cent of the shares in Doux.
Speaking ahead of a key meeting with staff today (Thursday 25 July), Raymond Gouiffes, union representative at the CGT, said: "Barclays will take 80 per cent of capital and Doux 20 per cent." Doux currently owns 80 per cent of the company and BNP Paribas bank 20 per cent."
Doux was put into administration in June after it failed to reach a deal with creditors, AFP reports.
By accepting the deal with Barclays, Doux was "backtracking back to the starting point", said Mr Gouiffes.
The decision of the court in Quimper is expected shortly.