FRANCE - The French agriculture minister Stéphan Le Foll has set out an action plan for the French poultry sector in a bid to redress the imbalance in the market.
Discussions between the industry and the government last week showed there is a complete imbalance between supply and demand in France for French poultry products.
Following the upgrading of farms to meet the new EU welfare standards for laying hens, egg production in France fell by 10 per cent in 2011 and a further 2.7 per cent the following year.
However, since September 2012 with farms replacing their chickens, production has risen again continually.
In the 10 months since September 2012, production has risen by 24.9 per cent and compared to 2010 production is up by 5.8 per cent.
Mr Le Foll said action had to be taken to allow the market to regain its balance and help producers over this difficult period.
He said it was necessary to offer [producers new opportunities for development and help them work to the future.
He said that it was essential that producers address the consequences of the imbalance and find new outlets for the current surplus, including boosting exports.
In a bid to gain new markets he said that organisations such as France AgriMer, SOPEXA and UbiFRance must step in to offer help to the producers and to supports them in promotional activities both at home and abroad.
Mr Le Foll added that the ministry would help the sector with the paperwork necessary in building new markets and he also suggested that to address the surplus there could be opportunities for donations to charities.
He said the Ministry will play a coordinating role between the industry and the charities to ensure a system is in place, if both parties agree, to help donations of between 100,000 and 250,000 eggs per week be passed to charities.
However, the minister said that it was also essential to address the immediate financial difficulties being faced by the producers and those egg producers, who are experiencing cash-flow problems because of the low prices, can apply for cash from the MSA (Mutualité Sociale Agricole).
He also called on credit institutions to look favourably on requests from egg producers and to tailor solutions to the individual.
He has also called on the finance minister B. Cazeneuve to ensure that egg producers can benefit for measures such as goodwill payment terms and discounts to tax payments, according to the situation.
Mr Le Foll has called in the Inspector general of Agriculture to help the producers develop new skills and help them develop a better knowledge of the market and the use of new data to discover new markets.
He has also advised the producers to make use of the services of the agricultural ombudsman to help in particular cases.
Next week, a meeting is to take place in Brittany, the main egg producing region, between the egg producers and the Regional Chamber of Agriculture to find operational solutions to the current situation.