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Foie gras farmers in a crunch

Producers of foie gras are beginning to worry about the effects of the global credit crunch on their stock.

by: AFP | 27 Nov 2008

Deep in southwest France, where making foie gras, or duck's liver, is a tradition, producers are shrugging off the effects of the global credit crunch, but only until Christmas.

"Our books are already filling with Christmas orders, but I have doubts about next year," said Annie Nadal, a local foie gras producer.

Nadal has 560 ducks she feeds on home-grown corn, but costs of production are cutting into her profits. "Prices of feed pellets have already doubled, and so has the price of fertiliser for the corn we grow," she said.

Her solution for the moment is not to raise prices, but rather go unpaid for the time she and her husband spend at work.

"The people who buy foie gras are not the kind of people that are really hurt by an economic crisis," opined another producer with optimism.

But his son Jean Francois Fayol was more cautious.

"The price for the gas we use to cook the preserves is up and grain prices are nearly double," he said. So far however Fayol, who has 1,800 ducks, also said his order books were looking good for the upcoming holiday festivities.

In France, both Christmas and New Year are synonymous with foie gras, with up to 70 percent of a producer's annual sales clinched in the lead-up to the gargantuan end-year feasting.

This year, however, despite producer confidence, consumers say they will be eating less of the delicacy.

Is this foie gras business still viable in the future?

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