Farmers blame EU for 'sacrificing' poultry industry

The EU is set to import the equivalent of the German or French poultry meat production, according to a farmers' group
The EU is set to import the equivalent of the German or French poultry meat production, according to a farmers' group

Farmers have blamed the EU for 'sacrificing' the bloc's poultry industry by agreeing to a quota of 180,000 tonnes of additional meat from Mercosur countries.

It follows the European Union sealing a major trade deal with a group of South American countries called the Mercosur trading bloc.

The historic deal between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay was signed after 20 years of talks.

The countries are set to increase their exports of beef, sugar, poultry and other farm products.



But an EU-wide poultry lobby group has highlighted farmers' concerns that the EU has agreed “a whopping quota of 180,000t of additional poultry meat from Mercosur countries”.

AVEC said the quota is double the amount of the last offer made at the end of 2017 and agreed by member states.



The group said 'nothing can justify a 100% increase of the quantities.'

“This is not just about more meat. It’s about people and livelihoods that will be impacted by this agreement

“An extra 180,000t of poultry meat imported to the EU means a significant loss of EU jobs for our sector, mainly located in rural areas,” it said.

Europe is already importing almost 900,000 tonnes of poultry meat every year from third countries.

In comparison, the import of beef is around 300,000 tonnes and for pork it is around 20,000 tonnes.

AVEC added: “With additional imported quantities, we will import the equivalent of the German or French chicken meat production.”

Over the past 20 years, the EU poultry meat sector has made efforts to implement stronger policies on animal welfare, food safety and environment.



However, the group said the European Union is 'basically saying' that farmers' efforts were 'useless'.

“The EU poultry meat sector feels betrayed by the commission. Our sector has been sacrificed to satisfy the interests of bigger players.

“Our words may be strong, but they serve to highlight the level of disarray within the poultry meat sector right now,” AVEC said.