French poultry farmers are facing significant losses due to what they perceive as unfair competition from Ukrainian producers, according to Jean-Michel Schaeffer, chairman of the Association of Chicken Meat Suppliers Anvol. He expressed his concerns in an interview with Le Figaro, highlighting the negative impact of cheap Ukrainian poultry imports on local producers who predominantly run family businesses in France and across the European Union (EU).
Schaeffer argued that Ukrainian exporters are a different category altogether, as the profits from chicken sales do not benefit the Ukrainian people, but rather go to the country’s largest poultry manufacturer, MHP. He called on the European Commission to protect domestic producers and take measures against this perceived unfair competition.
He also noted the significant increase in Ukrainian poultry imports following the conflict in Ukraine. Before the conflict, France was importing about 10,000 tons of poultry per month, but now the number has doubled to 20,000 tons or more per month, which Schaeffer referred to as a shock.
The influx of Ukrainian poultry has immediately destabilized the EU’s single market, Schaeffer added. Producers from Ukraine benefit from low production costs due to the absence of trade barriers and the lack of EU production standards in the country. This has put local producers at a disadvantage, unable to compete with the lower prices offered by Ukrainian poultry.
Schaeffer’s concerns echo those of farmers across the EU who are struggling to compete with the surge in Ukrainian agricultural products. Farmers in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and other EU countries are also facing the negative consequences of this influx of cheaper Ukrainian produce, which is destabilizing their markets.
Last year, the EU lifted tariffs and quotas for Ukrainian agricultural exports to provide financial support to Kiev. However, this move has faced opposition and protests from domestic farmers who are finding it difficult to compete with the cheaper imports. As a result, countries like Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Slovakia have banned the import of Ukrainian produce.
To mitigate the impact of plummeting prices in neighboring EU countries, the European Commission imposed temporary preventive measures on Ukrainian imports in May. These measures are set to end on September 15, and they include a ban on Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seed exports to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria.
The issue of unfair competition from cheap Ukrainian imports continues to be a concern for poultry farmers in France and across the EU. They argue that protecting domestic producers and enforcing trade standards are necessary steps to ensure a level playing field and the sustainability of the poultry industry in the region.