Faced with avian flu, the radical strategy of foie gras and poultry producers in the South-West

“Producers and businesses in the South-West, with the help of their interprofessional organisations…

“Producers and companies in the South-West, with the help of their regional inter-professional organisations, the IGP and Label Rouge associations and the consular chambers of Gers, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, have decided to own initiative to react courageously, announces Palso (Association Foie Gras Sud-Ouest and Airvol (Interregional Poultry Association in New Aquitaine) in a joint press release issued on Tuesday.

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Collectively, the players in these sectors have acted “a drastic reduction or even a total stoppage of production during periods of risk, in areas targeted as having a high density of farms and animals”. This plan will be implemented “as of this winter”. “These voluntary measures are unanimously recognized by the public authorities, local communities and veterinary services, specifies Palso. They are unprecedented in animal production in France! “

A cost of 12 million euros

We can see in this “courageous initiative of which the producers of the South-West have the secret”, the will of a profession to get out of the health impasse in which it has been blocked for several years. “Despite the strong financial support of the State and the European Union and the necessary efforts made by the entire sector on biosecurity, it must be recognized that the virus is continuing”, analyzes the association. The idea is also to defend the future of “festive products” that make up the region’s identity: foie gras from the South-West, duck breasts from the South-West, capons from the Landes, Gers, Périgord, IGP and Label Red.

As a reminder, the duck sector of the South-West IGP and Label Rouge is more than 1,700 producers, 65% of national production, more than 150 companies and 45,000 direct and indirect jobs (source INRAE ​​study). The poultry sector represents 2,500 farms, 3,800 direct jobs, more than 20 slaughterhouses and 35% of national production under IGP and Label Rouge.

Still, this spectacular strategy has “a heavy financial cost with the loss of production it generates, nearly 12 million euros for producers and companies that provide commercial outlets”. Companies already largely weakened by previous episodes of Avian Influenza.

“Their treasuries are in difficulty and their stocks non-existent, assures Palso. It is therefore a commitment with serious consequences on the structures of their financial accounts which have already been undermined”.

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“The game is worth the candle, argue the associations: is it not better to spend 12 million euros to support them, rather than paying more than 500 million per year in compensation? Not to mention the impact in terms of jobs through the use of partial unemployment… and its consequences in terms of local or regional activities (tourism, gastronomy, etc.). It is therefore necessary to imagine a financial mechanism to accompany this approach! »

A project in the 64

La Palso and Airvol are counting “on the authorities of the State, local communities and the European Union” to imagine solutions with the national and regional professional organizations of the South-West at the initiative of the approach. The stakes are high: “It is the sustainability of our quality productions which are the basis of all the economic and social activity of the South-West and which make the excellence of French gastronomy, which is in Game “.

At the end of July, at the time of the presentation of the action plan of the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau against avian flu, a project concerning 68 municipalities in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées and Gers, (the “Adour zone ”) had been mentioned: the ambition is to achieve a total absence of production between December 15 and January 15 on a voluntary basis and subject to compensation.

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