Multi-criteria decision-making model in the strategic planning of table egg production in the Republic of Croatia
AbstractUntil 2012, egg production in Croatia was mostly in cages, which was not in accordance with the European Union standards on the welfare of laying hens. Therefore, producers of table eggs could not continue their current practice and had to use those systems permitted in the EU member countries, such as organic, free-range, indoor or enriched cages. The aim of this study was to analyse and evaluate various systems of table-egg production using a method of multi-criteria analysis called the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). Thus, the aim was to determine scientifically which production system was the favoured option for the Croatian poultry sector. According to the results, production of eggs using an indoor system for housing hens was the best option (priority 0.317). This was followed by a free-range system (priority 0.242). The third-ranked alternative egg production system was in cages (priority 0.237), while the fourth and the least acceptable alternative refers to egg production according to organic principles (priority 0.202). Based on the results of the multi-criteria analysis and respecting the worldwide trends that reflect changes in consumers’ habits and their concerns for food safety and quality, as well as their preference for local markets and local products, it is recommended that eggs be produced in an indoor system of keeping laying hens. In this sense, egg production on small farms provides the possibility of self-employment and creation of additional income to contribute towards overall economic and social development of rural areas.
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