THE Victorian poultry industry has faced a severe setback after major processor Baiada announced it intends to shut down its Laverton processing plant from next year, with eight Victorian Farmers Federation chicken growers being advised their contracts will be terminated.
Representatives from the VFF Chicken Meat Group met with Baiada management yesterday, where the news was broken that the company intended to exit Victoria by March 31, 2017.
“Eight of our hardworking growers will lose their livelihoods when the plant closes, but we intend to work with management to find other opportunities for our members,” VFF Chicken Meat President Allan Bullen said.
“It’s a sad situation that has unfortunately been driven by market concerns and we understand the decision Baiada has taken.”
In a statement released to stakeholders by the company, management blamed poor commercial prospects for the decision:
Market conditions require us to consolidate our national processing operations meaning we could no longer viably operate the Laverton processing facility in the medium to long term
It is understood the company will maintain its Victorian distribution arm while focusing its processing operations in New South Wales.
Mr Bullen said the VFF was reaching out to members to offer support.
“Growers are going through a difficult time at the moment, but the VFF Chicken Meat Group is doing everything we can to make sure these farmers have an income in the future,” he said.