Farmer concerns over Moy Park scale-back in Northern Ireland

Farmer concerns over Moy Park scale-back in Northern Ireland

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU)  says it is  deeply concerned about the news that Moy Park will be reducing production within Northern Ireland (NI).

The slaughter of live birds is to be suspended at their site in Ballymena, Co Antrim. The cost and accessibility of raw materials, energy prices and labour availability have been cited as the reasons for this decision.

The company said the decision was due to “customer growth and labour market challenges” and said live bird processing would be temporarily suspended as it concentrates on seasonal and retail products.

The Ballymena site processes around 300,000 birds a week. The company hopes to get the live bird processing up and running again in Septeember when a contract to Sainsbury’s is thought to be kicking in.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “Our members are extremely disappointed and worried about Moy Park pulling back on production here. It is the second time this has happened in less than three years and will create ongoing income pressures.

“Poultry producers have been hit hard in recent times and they’ve been exhausting every avenue to sustain their family farm businesses. Moy Park has said that they aim to get the slaughtering of live birds in the Ballymena site going again in September when a major contract with Sainsbury’s will begin, but in the meantime, we will be liaising closely with Moy Park to ensure this is managed with minimal impact.

“It’s important that consumers understand that the increasing input costs to produce food is going to affect the cost of food for them. Neither farmers or processors can produce food, meeting extra production costs, without receiving a fair return from the marketplace. Therefore, it’s going to have a rippling effect down the food chain.”