The National Farmers& ' Union has warned in a new report that the £3bn British chicken industry is not financially sustainable and will not survive in the current pricing climate.

The union says in a new report - British Chicken: What Price, launched at the Pig and Poultry Fair this week - that farmers have for a long time been struggling with continuous downward price pressure coupled with rising energy and labour costs.

It says a price increase is the only way to secure continued production of British farm-assured red tractor chicken.
Peter Kendall, NFU president, said: "As the product price is squeezed and input costs soar, the farmer is left with little over the cost of production. This means the industry cannot modernise and invest."

Farmers are also dreading a further regulatory cost in the form of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations, which aim to control emissions and address energy efficiency, the consumption of raw materials, noise and site restoration.

Charles Bourns, NFU poultry board chairman, said: "The industry has worked hard to achieve a good environmental record and has already entered into climate change agreements to cut down energy use.

"We are asking for a delayed implementation of the IPPC, or at least for the costs to be mitigated and charges waived."

The NFU says that integrated companies and other processors must obtain a price increase from customers averaging 8% across all product lines, or 12p per kg at the very least.