ANALYSIS - Warnings about global feed and food price rises are growing ever louder. An international feed organisation blames the difficult crop–growing conditions in the US as well as competition from the biofuels sector for the increases, which will ‘continue unabated for the foreseeable future’. With the future of French processor, Doux, due to be announced soon, the country’s whole poultry meat industry is under review. A ban on desinewed meat in the EU is costing British poultry companies up to £100 million and the industry says that the ban is unnecessary and the European Commission is not imposing the rules fairly. Four new outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu have been reported in Vietnamese poultry.
The prolonged drought in the US this spring and summer is lowering harvest yield forecasts for maize and soya, and more organisations are warning about the very real prospect of rising feed and food prices.
This week, it has been the turn of the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) to voice its concern that the rise in feed and food costs will continue unabated for the foreseeable future, in large part due to the diversion of feed and food grains and oilseeds into biofuels. This will result in critical pressure on feed manufacturers worldwide and higher prices for consumers.
“The dramatic drought in the US has highlighted once again the rising prices of feed and food and it is clear that the production of biofuels is in direct competition with food supplies by using land and water that would otherwise be used to grow crops for human or animal consumption,” said Alexandra de Athayde, IFIF Executive Director.
She added: “If no virgin food or feed crops were used to produce fuel, we believe prices would come down again. Current policies aimed at subsidizing the production of grains and oilseeds based biofuels harm the consumer and threaten the sustainability of the feed and food chain globally.”
In the EU, 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.
French Agriculture Minister, Stéphane Le Foll, and the deputy for Mayenne and mayor of Laval, Guillaume Garot, have met with members of parliament and chairmen of regional and general councils from all political parties to discuss the future of the Doux group.
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.
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.
It has been reported that Barclays Bank will take up 80 per cent of the shares in Doux.
In the UK, there have been calls on the Government to to reverse the European Commission’s decision to ban desinewed meat, which is already having serious impacts on the UK’s food industry and for consumers.
A new report from the the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee highlights the impact that the Commission’s decision to ban desinewed meat has had on the UK meat industry. One producer of desinewed meat has been forced to make almost half of its workers redundant, and consumer prices are forecast to rise as desinewed meat, traditionally used in value ranges, is replaced by more expensive cuts of meat.
Welcoming the report, the British Poultry Council commented that the misguided decision by the European Commission to reclassify this product threatened to cost British poultry companies up to £100 million.
Finally, turning to Bird Flu news, four new outbreaks of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in village poultry have been reported in Viet Nam during the second week of July. The US poultry industry has expressed its support for Mexican poultry producers as they wage their battle against H7N3 HPAI and has pledged its support to help them win that war.