Andy Boylan, the Irish Farmers' Association's (IFA) poultry chairman, has called on all stakeholders involved in the processing and retailing of poultry meat and eggs, to recognize the increased costs of production. He said that Bord Bia Quality assured chicken and eggs produced by farmers to the highest quality standards and in an environmentally sustainable fashion, also need to be produced in a financial sustainable manner too.

Without adequate remuneration, Boylan says farmers cannot continue producing chicken and eggs, which convert Irish grain into high quality protein in the most efficient manner of all farmed animals.

Chicken meat has overtaken pig meat as the largest consumed meat in the world in 2017 and its health benefits are well recognized, Boylan said.

Irish poultry farmers want to continue to produce chicken and expand production to meet market demand. “All farmers want is to have a margin left after covering their costs of production”, said Boylan.

Chicken feed costs has increased dramatically in 2018, as have energy costs, labor and the general cost of doing business. This needs to recouped, Boylan believes, adding that the farmer can only negotiate with their direct processors but the issue is wider than simply the farmer and factor manager haggling over price.

The retailers that ultimately sell chicken to the consumer need to recognize the true costs of sustainable production, the IFA leader believes. Continuously discounting and special offers of chicken has to be halted, as it undermines everything that chicken farmer does on a daily basis.

Boylan said that poultry producers’ groups were requesting urgent meetings with their processors and egg packers, to renegotiate current agreements which have been in place for 3 years and now need to be upgraded for farmers.