Ten leaders from the broiler and egg industries addressed the crisis and opportunities under the COVID-19 pandemic during a panel discussion held August 7 during the 9th International Poultry Forum China (IPFC), held in Jinan.

Here are key comments from panel participants:

Gu Yunfei, president of Jiangsu Jinghai Poultry Group:

“In February, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its worst, we faced very big challenges, such as a feed supply shortage, the chick selling chain was broken, limited access to breeding imports, and worker shortages,” Yunfei said.

But, Jiangsu Jinghai Poultry Group changed the import channels and transportation mode of breeding chickens, updated the nutrition program, adjusted the feed formulas, as well as other aspects of business  to deal with these issues.

In addition, Jiangsu Jinghai Poultry Group is accelerating the development through the recapitalization with Wen’s group, and combined the advantages of both parties during this special period.

Xiao Dongsheng, general manager of Fovo Foods:

 “In February and March this year, our exports were relatively optimistic, but after April, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, exports were severely reduced,” Dongsheng said.

The catering consumption of the post-pandemic era has changed greatly, which has brought great pressure to the management of enterprises like Fovo Foods, Dongsheng said. However, the pandemic also confirmed the company’s previous development strategy. On July 16, Fovo Foods was listed in Hong Kong. In the next two to three years, the company will focus on the convenience end of the retail market, expand rapidly and attract more talent.

Qiu Jia-hui, vice president of Wellhope Agri-Tech Joint Stock Co:

 “Although the COVID-19 outbreak poses great challenges and pressures to the poultry industry in the short term, it is very optimistic in the long term,” said Jia-hui. “Although the whole industry has been affected to different degrees, most groups did not stop the pace of development. For example, Wellhope Animal Husbandry saw a year-on-year growth of 68.8% in profits in the first half of this year, and the slaughter scale of white-feather broiler chicken became the first in China. So, in my view, the poultry industry still has a very bright future.”

Lu Qing, senior director of strategic sourcing, China, Tyson Foods:

“I think the reason Tyson is still able to grow steadily is because it has strong reserves of flexible supply and diversified distribution channels,” said Qing. “And we are very focused on improving our ability to seize opportunities and turn crises at critical times so that we can sustain ourselves for the long term.”

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Li Yang, president of Shenyang Huamei Food:

 “Although the pandemic has caused a great impact, fortunately we have the support of all levels of government, and production can proceed normally. As a vegetable-basket enterprise we got priority to resume work, so our company did not kill any chickens during COVID-19.” Yang said, “The pandemic has not affected Huamei's cooperation and development with Mitsubishi of Japan. Although the investment process will be fine-tuned according to the macro environment changes, the overall development strategy will not change. In addition, Huamei Food has moved from a single poultry protein production and processing model to a whole protein production model."

Yuan Zhengdong, supervisory board chairman, Beijing DQY Ecological Technology:

“The biggest impact of COVID-19 on DQY is how to ensure the normal operation and normal operation of more than 20 new factories across the country. Thanks to the national policy of supporting production and production resumption, the cooperation of local governments and the coordination of pandemic prevention and control departments, we can tide over the difficulties and complete production expansion,” Zhengdong said. What's more, nowadays, large enterprises have high product costs and lack competitiveness. This is because they have not given full play to their advantages on the production side. Therefore, they should strengthen communication with the society, the government and consumers to improve the comprehensive competitiveness of the supply chain.”

Wei Xiaoming, president of Ningxia Xiaoming Agriculture and Animal Husbandry:

“Our biggest difficulty during the pandemic was transportation. We couldn't get chickens out and feed in, which seriously affected our production. But the good news is that we have a good biosecurity system, a relatively complete incentive system, and good suppliers to work with, so we can overcome the obstacles,” said Xiaoming. “With this in mind, we will continue to use the capital markets to increase our capacity and scale to produce better quality products while striving to improve ourselves.”

Zhou Baogui, secretary of the party committee of Beijing Huadu Yukou Poultry Industry:

“COVID-19 has brought us to the most difficult of times, it tested the world relations, trade supply chains and the ability of governments to manage crises. But we have been able to connect with industries, associations and other organizations, so we have not suffered a lot from this outbreak.” “In fact, the pandemic is putting our company to the test,” said Baogui. “After years of building culture, building team cohesion and improving organizational capacity, Huadu Yukou Poultry Industry can avoid greater losses.”

Feng Bin, president of Guizhou Fengji Ecological Agriculture:

Bin said: “Our production efficiency has grown rapidly during the pandemic because our business model is different. In fact, the pandemic is a measure of a company's ability to withstand risks, which is the most essential.”

As for the building of the brand of eating raw, undercooked eggs, Feng said: “Brand itself is a promise given to consumers that needed to fulfill, rather than a concept of communication. There is a false tendency to regard brand as the key point of publicity. The formation process of all brands is the mutual reinforcement of consumption and product. If you deviate from this principle, it is difficult to establish your own brand. In addition, the establishment of a brand should pursue differentiation, because the real competition between enterprises is the competition between the system, only the system can not be copied.”

Xie Yonggang, vice-director of Huayu Agricultural Science and Technology:

“We lost millions of chicks due to the pandemic, but through our internal scheduling and government coordination, production was basically unaffected, with sales affected by about 10% in the first half of the year,” said Younggang. “In addition, we also donated masks and supplies during the pandemic, demonstrating the power of our layer and poultry industries and conveying the cultural spirit of our enterprise.”

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.