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Imports Blamed for Fall in T&T Chicken Output

20 August 2009

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - Imports of leg quarters are blamed for a fall in local poultry meat production.

Local chicken production has shown a notable decline within the last 12 months and chicken producers are blaming imported chicken for it, according to Trinidad Express.

This is the first time that a notable decrease has taken place in the last 25 years, said members of the Poultry Association of Trinidad & Tobago (PATT). While no exact figures were given some chicken producers said there was an average 20 per cent decrease.

The association has issued a release expressing its concern over "the fact that local production has shown its first decline in over 25 years because of the spike in the import of frozen leg quarters in 2008".

Insiders said that last year an estimated 14,000 metric tonnes of chicken were imported. They said this was the most chicken imported in almost the last two decades, since local chicken farmers began bulk producing.

PATT's members said this was due to a change in the import regime which removed the Caricom upheld Common External Tariff (CET) and the surcharges from back & neck, wings and other pieces of imported chicken.

However, the Minister of Trade and Industry Mariano Browne told Trinidad Express that the country had not moved to lift the CET on chicken imported from outside the region, and the import duty still stood. The Minister met with local chicken producers about a month ago.

PATT also said they met with the Minister of Finance, Karen Nunez Tesheira, and made presentations to both Ministers and their teams of advisors in an attempt to illustrate "the vital importance of the poultry industry to the economy and nutrition of the nation."

When Trinidad Express asked a member of PATT what the organisation was proposing that the Ministry do to help them regain their market share in the poultry industry, he said only that they wanted local poultry producers to be catered for and national food security to be given priority as a long term goal, taking precedence over a short-term drop in prices.

ThePoultrySite News Desk



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