Poultry farmers in Bahrain are are still on strike, despite reports that the dispute could have come to an end, the Gulf Daily News reports. Farmers want a better deal and signed guarantees from Delmon Poultry Company that their demands are being met.

Farmers have reportedly been assured a higher price per kilo of chicken, which is not expected to be passed on to consumers, and have already had demands relating to deliveries met. However, 31 of the 33 farms taking part in the strike in Bahrain want written assurances that their demands are being met before returning to work.

"The strike is still on," said farmers' union spokesman, Jameel Salman.

The poultry farmers went on strike on March 4 in protest of the high mortality rate of chicks they receive from the Delmon Poultry Company, which they claim are often sick, weak and die within days. The company, which is Bahrain's main supplier of fresh chicken, sells hatchlings to the farmers and then buys back fully grown birds when they are ready for the market. 

"They said that they will increase our profit from 100 fils to 200 fils (USD0.27 to USD0.53) per kilo, and they agreed that our vets have the right to oversee the vaccinations of the chicks," said Salman. "This is great, but it's just talk for now until we get something on paper."

Salman said the average cost of rearing a chick to adulthood is around 800 fils (USD02.12), which is the price it is sold back to the Delmon Poultry Company at. Farmers say they get an average of 100 fils (USD0.27) in profit for each animal, but this is expected to double under a new deal.

The farmers are obliged to receive chicks earmarked for them for the next two weeks to avoid breaching their contracts, but after that can stop receiving hatchlings, meaning nobody will be there to raise them, leading to a shortage of fresh chicken in the market.

Delmon Poultry Company did not comment.