Interview with the General Secretary of the Interprofessional Organization of the Poultry Industry of Chicken Meat (Propollo), Ángel Martín, who reviews several current issues in the sector.
85% of chicken production in Spain is covered by a plan to reduce the use of antibiotics, a practice that began in 2015 and has already allowed to reduce the amount of antibiotic medication that is provided on farms.
This is explained in an interview with Efeagro the General Secretary of the Interprofessional Organization of Chicken Poultry (Propollo), Ángel Martín, who points out that the challenge is an "important" reduction in the use of these drugs in the coming years. It was the sector itself that went to the Spanish Medicines Agency to inform them that they would implement this plan, focusing on biosecurity measures, such as the obligation for farms to have fences, bird nets or the rigorous application of disinfectant liquids to the entry. According to Martín, "if farms do not have a high degree of biosecurity", they Will "never" be able to reduce the administration of antibiotics.
Fight against antimicrobial resistance
These measures were supervised by the Agency and by the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries, Food and Environment (Mapama), and distributed throughout the sector. Some of the producers have had to make investments to adapt to these measures, which in their opinion are "essential" to minimize the possibilities of diseases affections on farms and to reduce the use of antibiotics. An objective that is fundamental for the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
Along with health, animal welfare is another of the relevant issues within the current scenario of the sector and on which Martin recalls that the growing of chickens "requires by law" i¡within the European Union (EU) that these animals are in spaces with "very determined" conditions. In this regard, he claims that both, the sector and the competent authorities, ensure that the density in the warehouses is correct and within regulation, so it qualifies as "absolutely false" that can be crowded, especially within the EU. So he rejects the image projected from some animal associations. He also insists that the farmers and integrating companies are the first interested in complying with the animal welfare regulations in terms of space, food and drink so their animals are suitable to be sent to the slaughterhouse.
International Trade Regarding the international market, the poultry meat sector is expecting the free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur countries, which, in principle, they do not see favorable because it is precisely Brazil, the main exporter, which produces "a very cheap chicken and not in the same conditions" as in the European Union. In addition, he emphasizes, Brazil already has agreements to reduce tariffs and "it already exports enough" to the community territory. In global terms, Spain has increased sales of chicken outside its borders by 25% in the last five years, especially within the EU and to sub-Saharan countries such as Togo or Guinea. Martin expects exports to rise to the Asian market and is hopeful with the "many possibilities" offered by Chineese market opening.
The problem of "false self-employed" in processing plants
It is also very aware of the problem of "false self-employed workers" in the associated work cooperatives - a matter denounced by the trade union organizations - and believes that the solution lies in the parties' feeling to negotiate. The negotiating table was created, but has been dissolved, and calls for reopening it to "solve the problem" without going to court.
Summer, good forecasts for the "rotisserie" chicken Regarding the domestic market, Martin says that the summer campaign has just started, which will last until mid-September and that is vital, as the demand for chicken for grills on the coast and at local festivities is "overflowing". It is a chicken smaller than usual to be able to put it on the grill and in these three and a half months "has a great demand," he says. Spain is the second European producer of chicken meat behind the United Kingdom, it generates about 60,000 jobs, produces more than 11 million animals a week and bills over 1,800 million per year.