Asking tough questions

How should European poultry producers fight growing competition from inexpensive frozen imports? Should producers seek more protectionist policies? Or should they rethink their strategies to become more competitive?

What is the best way for European poultry companies to deal with this new competition? Do they simply need to become bigger and more efficient? Or should they steer consumers toward value-added, locally produced, branded products that command a premium price?

And how will your company meet these challenges? What does your operation do exceptionally well? What could it do better? What opportunities have you ignored? Where will your operation be 10, 20 or even 50 years from now? What roadblocks stand in your way of progress?

These are among the many questions facing poultry producers in and around Europe today. And they are not easy to answer. No one poultry operation is the same in terms of management, facilities, marketing or long-term goals. We do know, however, that change is essential if we want to remain competitive.

As poultry industry trend-watcher Osler Desouzart tells us in the article beginning on page 15, "Today's consumer wants to know what he eats, from where it came and how it was produced. He wants assurance that what he eats is safe for his health and the environment, that it is fair to the manpower that produced it and that the meat comes from animals that are well cared for and healthy."

Desouzart also warns against mistaking economy for progress: "A premium chicken sold at a premium price cannot be made... with second-grade feed, with the lots managed by untrained people and with the 'cost dictatorship' determining that the least expensive ingredients should always be used. Quality begins at the beginning, but has to go all the way to the end. There is no 'partial' quality, or quality just in parts of the process, by part of the departments and part of the time."

At Schering-Plough Animal Health, we are making efforts to partner with poultry producers to meet these challenges. A good example of this effort is the recent meeting we hosted near Venice (see the Special Report beginning on page 5) to help producers focus on intestinal health and ways to produce wholesome, valueadded, yet competitive poultry while meeting the growing consumer demand for birds without in-feed antibiotics.

It is our hope that this special issue of CocciForum - the first one published specifically for Europe and the Middle East - will provide inspiration and ideas for meeting the many challenges presented above.

Paolo Sani, DVM
Schering-Plough Animal Health
Regional Manager-Europe
[email protected]

Source: Cocciforum issue 14
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