The French government has announced a package of aid totalling €9m (US$10.3m) for the restructuring of the country’s poultry farming sector, a sum that is €3m higher than initially planned.

Targeting chronic over-capacity in the sector, the aid package includes €6m for the closure of chicken runs judged to be obsolete.

The remaining €3m will go on reconverting production sites and helping poultry firms diversify into other areas.

France’s poultry trade federation, the FIA, estimates that €45m is required to combat the crisis in the sector of which €15m would go towards redundancy programme  concerning  2,000 jobs.

French producers are having to cope with fierce competition from counterparts in countries such as Brazil and Thailand which is limiting export outlets.

There has also been a decline in consumption amid a general stagnation in meat sales in Europe. The only time the market for white meat had picked up in recent years was when beef was snubbed as a result of the mad cow crisis.