Mixed fortunes for Caribbean poultry producers
Egg and broiler producers have concerns about imports
Poultry associations of Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados are calling for restrictions on imported products, while the leading poultry meat company in Jamaica has posted a double-digit increase in gross profit for the latest quarter.
Antigua & Barbuda: Minister considers the future for import licenses
Egg farmers are preparing for a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, at which they will present their case for a ban on the issuance of import licenses for imported eggs.
Chairman of the poultry association, Ed Williams has told Antigua Observer that the nation’s farmers are able to provide all the eggs needed for local consumption.
“Although we have the eggs, the major importers are still receiving licenses to import into the country, and we suffer a loss because of this,” he said.
The government has declared its aim to cut food imports from the current level of XCD375 million (US$138.9 million). Meat and meat products account for around one-third of this total. The Ministry has declared it will consult with all stakeholders before settling on its future strategy.
In November of 2015, Antigua Observer reported that the Poultry Association was planning to increase the state’s level of self-sufficiency in eggs from 85-90 percent to 100 percent, and that it would then call on the government to end the issuance of import licenses.
According to the statistics division of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOstat), shell egg production in Antigua and Barbuda had been steady at 400 metric tons for the period 2010-2013, the most recent year for which figures have been published.
Barbadian chicken farmers unhappy about imports
President of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, has expressed dismay at the recent decision by the government to continue issuing licenses for the import of chicken wings and poultry products, reports Nation News.
“Under my watch, there will be no banning of the importation of chicken wings and poultry products,” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Donville Inniss. “Barbadians must have an option.”
According to Barbados Advocate, he called on poultry producers to focus on cutting their costs.
Previously, the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA) had called for urgent help to protect their livelihoods.
“The industry at this point in time is suffering because of the high import of chicken wings and turkey wings into the country,” BEPPA president, Stephen Layne told Barbados Today in early September, adding that while the industry had seen growth of between 25 percent and 30 percent over a five-year period, the importation of chicken parts had been eroding the gains.”
Some farmers have cut production and are still unable to sell their birds, according to Layne.
Chicken meat production in Barbados has been flat at around 15,000 metric tons per year between 2006 and 2013, according to FAOstat.
Jamaica Broilers records successful quarter
In its latest quarterly report, just published, Jamaica Broilers Group stated that sales topped JMD10 billion (US$78.6 million) in the first quarter ending July. This represents a double-digit increase over the same quarter in 2015, attributed to increased sales of eggs in the region.
Results for the Group’s U.S. Operations included its new subsidiary, International Poultry Breeders Hatcheries Inc., based in Iowa, for the first time.
For the group’s continuing operations, profit was down. However, when taking account of the Group’s ethanol business that was sold in June, overall profit improved to JMD406 million (US$3.19 million) from JMD314 million (US$2.46 million) last year.
In January, Jamaica Broilers Group forecasta 25 percent increase in capacity as its contract farmers invested in new poultry housing.
Recently, Jamaica Broilers provided 350 children with supplies for their return to school.