September 19, 2003



Heatwave Cuts French Poultry Output 16 Million 


France's poultry cutbacks shot to around 12 million chickens and 4 million turkeys as the August heatwave exacts its toll on the live poultry industry, a senior industry official was quoted as saying Thursday.


Alain Melot, president of the French poultry producer's association, Federation des Industries Avicoles, estimated that the record summer temperatures killed 4.6 million chickens and turkeys in France. This included 3.5 million chickens and 500,000 turkeys being raised for processing into food, plus 500,000 chickens and 100,000 turkeys raised for reproduction. Poultry raised for reproduction are used to supply farms that raise poultry for processing.


Melot said poultry industry officials from throughout Europe will discuss the impacts of the losses Saturday at a previously scheduled meeting of their pan-European industry lobbying group, AVEC, in Edinburgh, Scotland.


The heat wave resulted in substantial poultry losses in many western European countries, but France as the E.U.'s largest producer was the hardest hit. Around 1 billion French chickens and turkeys are slaughtered annually, according to data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the French poultry sector.


Melot said the projected French output losses of 16 million chickens and turkeys in the next six months cannot be offset by imports because other European are also suffering from similar shortfalls.


The French poultry sector will have direct financial losses of around EUR50 million between August and the end of this year due to the effects of the heat wave, he estimated.


An official of the French state livestock and poultry board, Ofival, said it has not yet compiled its own data on the heat wave's effects but may have preliminary estimates in October. So far, these are considered the most reliable, even as reports abound "heavy losses".


French demand for poultry feed will also be affected due to immediate and future ioutput losses, although no figures are as yet available.
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