Farmers in plea for help as crises threatens livelihoods

A farmers' union is calling on the Government for urgent support for the suffering poultry businesses amid the threat of bird flu and soaring production costs.

Farmers in plea for help as crises threatens livelihoods

Calls for support come as British shoppers looking for eggs have been met with empty shelves, as the UK’s largest ever outbreak of bird flu and rising costs have placed pressure on egg supplies across the country.

On Monday, members of the National Farmers Union (NFU) met at the Cymru Poultry Conference and expressed their serious concerns for the impact that severe energy price inflation, hikes in feed costs and the worst ever UK outbreak of Avian Influenza were taking on their businesses and their families.

Following the conference, NFU Cymru has written to the Welsh Government calling for immediate action to support Welsh poultry businesses in the wake of the unprecedented challenges they face.

The union has called upon the Government to immediately introduce all-Wales poultry housing measures to help protect commercial flocks against Avian Influenza.

NFU Cymru is also urging the Government to use the powers under the UK Agriculture Act 2020 to investigate whether an ‘exceptional market conditions’ declaration should be made, given the severe market disruption which egg producers and UK consumers are experiencing.

The declaration would enable the Welsh Government to use its statutory powers to provide support to egg producers whose livelihoods are under threat.

Around 100 poultry farmers attended the NFU Cymru event in Llandrindod Wells to hear from a range of industry speakers about the crisis gripping the sector.

NFU Cymru Poultry Group chair Richard Williams said: “The record turnout at this meeting was testimony to the strength of concern among Welsh poultry farmers at present. The feeling of frustration and fear was palpable, with many members expressing that the impact of rising input costs affecting production and the continued risk of Avian Influenza are causing untold stress and worry.

“The union has been engaged in meetings with government, retailers and food businesses over the crisis impacting poultry producers and the need for these current supply chain issues to be addressed without delay.

“Farmers present at the conference were adamant that Welsh Government should follow the action taken in England and introduce a housing order to protect commercial flocks in Wales. If the introduction of housing measures saves just one farming family from facing the devastating impact of the disease, it will be worth it.”

Wales currently has three disease control zones in place to tackle confirmed cases of bird flu.

Union bosses stressed that despite the crisis, farmers were continuing to produce "healthy, nutritious and affordable eggs and poultry meat".

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