National Farmers' Federation

Interim report recommends mandatory code to combat alarming challenges in poultry sector

Comments attributable to Tony Mahar, NFF chief executive

The National Farmers’ Federation has today released its interim report towards creating greater market transparency and competition in the poultry meat sector, following concerns raised by growers and the competition watchdog.

In 2020 the ACCC’s Perishable Agricultural Goods Inquiry highlighted significant concerns about practices in the Australian poultry meat supply chain and the impact these had on market transparency, competition and the economy.

The NFF embarked on comprehensive 12-month research project, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, to explore the potential for a Code of Conduct as a mechanism to address these concerns.

The interim report reveals a widespread lack of market transparency, misuse of market power, and economic harm within the poultry meat supply chain.

Growers raised a number of alarming concerns including:

  • Little to no choice in processors and ability to compare price offerings.
  • Deliberate undermining of collective bargaining efforts.
  • Unfair contract terms, such as growers being required to invest in infrastructure with no additional remuneration.
  • Contract price increases not reflecting rising input costs.
  • Refusal to honour contract clauses.
  • A genuine fear of commercial retribution for challenging unfair contract terms or unfair business practices.

This report has considered a range of policy, regulatory and legislative measures the Federal Government can adopt to address these issues, with the NFF calling for the Government to implement a mandatory Code of Conduct.

Administered by the ACCC, the Code will provide a regulatory framework that provides confidence and fair trading in the poultry meat supply chain and will support best-practice policy and regulation for growers and processors.

The NFF welcomes stakeholder feedback on the interim report and will publish a final report in April 2024.

Click here to access the interim report.