Financially-strapped turkey farm seeks business partner
After fighting financial difficulties for some time, Joe Stanyer, a British farmer who runs a small commercial turkey farm in Hua Hin has decided to close his existing operation and look for a partner or he may take his next venture to Malaysia.
Mr Stanyer has announced a close-out sale of 2,000 turkeys, at 120 baht a kilogramme for oven-ready birds and 500 baht a kilogramme for breeding stock.
He said the market for turkeys, which was seasonal, was oversupplied this year due to the Charoen Pokphand Group's entry into the market and imports from the Untied States. His company also lost its main distributor so sales were very poor.
The CP Group is in the early stage of developing turkey production in Thailand. It imports about 2,000 eggs a month to hatch, according to Mr Stanyer.
``The farm could not afford to feed the birds anymore as the cost was as high as 10,000 baht per week,'' said the 53-year-old farmer.
A Livestock Development Department requirement forced Mr Stanyer to change the farm's free-range system to a closed operation, which he cited as another reason for the closure. This was in line with the government's policy on the prevention of a resurgence in avian flu.
Mr Stanyer said this policy was seriously flawed, claiming it was well documented that bird flu was spread solely by waterfowl, not by small birds such as sparrows and mynahs that land around farms.
He said the farm had never had a reportable disease problem and that the free-range system produced better yields, but the department had objected and banned the farm from importing eggs to hatch in its own incubator.
``This has destroyed our cross-breeding programme and made us uncompetitive.''
Mr Stanyer said he was planning to establish a new fresh-meat farm, processing products from cross-bred turkeys. If he can't find a partner to invest in the project, he said he may relocate to Malaysia.
Mr Stanyer is seeking an investor with a strong marketing arm to develop commercial products that could be sold all year round, such as processed chicken, turkey, ham and salami, which could serve both local and regional markets.
Bangkok Post 17 October 2005 www.bangkokpost.com
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