The lifting of European Union custom duties on Ukrainian goods led to a jump in poultry imports that has benefited a single company rather than Ukrainian farmers, French poultry makers said, asking for the temporary move not to be renewed.
The EU in June temporarily lifted tariffs to help the war-torn country and suspended quotas of Ukrainian agricultural products, including one for 70,000 tonnes of Ukrainian poultry a year.
Ukrainian chicken imports into the EU jumped 54% year-on-year in the second quarter to about 52,000 tonnes, French poultry group Anvol said on Wednesday, forecasting the total volume for 2022 at between 130,000 and 180,000 tonnes.
In France alone the rise in the second quarter was 181%.
Surge In Costs
The competition from increased imports comes as the sector is already suffering from a surge in costs due to high grain prices and rocketing energy prices.
"We got tricked," Anvol deputy chairman Gilles Huttepain told reporters. "We are ok to help Ukrainian farmers but we don't want to help just one company."
Huttepain was referring to MHP, by far Ukraine's largest poultry meat producer and exporter and the country's top food producer.
Largest Poultry Producer
“MHP is the largest poultry producer in Ukraine and its largest EU certified poultry exporter," commented Dr John Rich, the executive chairman of MHP. "The company is also a vital part of the Ukrainian war effort, supplying the Ukrainian defenders at cost, and donates food at scale to civilian population in the frontline regions as well as to the relocated people across all regions of Ukraine in cooperation with local authorities.
"It is crucial, that MHP and similar strategically important companies from Ukraine stay in business despite the extraordinary challenges and the destruction of war, and that is the main reason that the tariffs were temporarily lifted in the EU.”
“Since 2013, MHP has been exporting to the EU, and now has over 80 poultry export destinations in its portfolio (MENA, EU, Africa, CIS and Asia). Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, taking into account significant logistics difficulties, unavailability of ports infrastructure for exports to the MENA region and Africa, it was decided that the majority of poultry exports (transshipments) will be done through the territory of the EU using the ports of Klaipeda, Gdansk and Constanta.
"As of today, thanks to these possible, but substantially expensive and longer routes, MHP continues to serve customers in all locations.”
Chicken imports from Brazil into France were also up 122% in the second quarter, according to Anvol.
The competition from increased imports also comes as the sector is already suffering from a surge in costs due to high grain prices and rocketing energy prices.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest supply chain news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine