Poultry Breeders Demand Govt Support11 September 2012
JORDAN - Scores of poultry breeders held a sit-in outside the agriculture ministry on Sunday, asking the government to take a series of measures to help the sector.
Their demands include lifting the sales tax on chicken and eggs, allowing cheaper Asian labourers to work in the sector, subsidising fodder, monitoring retailers and most importantly, reversing a decision to allow the import of eggs, saying they have the ability to meet the market's needs of eggs and poultry, reports The Jordan Times.
The poultry breeders also urged the government to stop allowing imports of frozen chicken, claiming that imported products have driven down prices to an unacceptably low level.
"We cannot sell our chicken and eggs like before, after the government opened the door for imports. This is endangering our business," Kamal Qaraan, a poultry breeder who works and lives in Tafileh, said during the sit-in.
"The government should subsidise fodder. We are losing every day. The number of small poultry breeders who work in the sector to support their families is huge. I support a family of 14 from my business in the sector. It would be a disaster if I had to close my poultry farm."
Rakan Tabashat, another poultry breeder from Tafileh Governorate, shared Qaraan's concerns.
"Currently, one kilo of chicken costs us JD1.4 but we sell it to retailers for JD1.2 or sometimes JD1.1 because they do not buy like in the past as the market is flooded with imported frozen chicken, which is sold to consumers for about JD1.2 or JD1.3," Mr Tabashat said.
"I support a family of 12 and I owe banks and credit lending associations more than JD10,000. If I lose my business it will be a problem. The government should be merciful with us or leave," he said.
Voicing support for the breeders' demands, Nimer Haddadin, spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture, said the ministry had proposed forming a committee representing all involved parties to start a dialogue and address their needs, but the demonstrators refused.
Haddadin said the decision to allow egg imports had been made after local production fell and consumer prices rose due to inadequate supply.
"We understand their needs, but we opened the door for importing eggs because we wanted to address the imbalances in the market as the price of eggs rose sharply recently," he told The Jordan Times, calling the JD2 billion poultry sector vital to the country's economy.