Barbadian Industry Calls for Incentives

BARBADOS - The poultry industry is in good health but it is calling for government incentives.
calendar icon 11 May 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The poultry industry is alive and well in Barbados to the extent that there have been no lay-offs and projected production is likely to surpass last year's figures, reports Barbados Advocate.

The newspaper was quoting the chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, who stated that nine million birds were produced last year.

"One of the things that we can anticipate [is] that if we can grow poultry production this year, that we can grow employment within the sector rather than contract employment, and that is why I think we need to support the sector as much as possible."

He pointed to the fact that poultry producers in Barbados are not given incentives the Government as is the case in other developed countries.

"I heard some of the comments before in relation to the whole question of chicken wings but I also want to emphasise that poultry producers in Barbados do not receive the kind of Government incentives as other countries. We do not produce subsidised chicken, they meet the full cost of production on the market, so when people compare us to places in the United States of America and Europe where you have subsidised chicken, it just is not the same.

"While people may not think so, there is still an element of competition existing within the poultry industry and certainly I believe that poultry producers will be trying to give consumers the best prices that they can afford to give them," said Mr Paul.

In terms of food security in Barbados, Mr Paul remarked that he is noticing an increase in the number of persons getting involved in poultry production and egg production in Barbados, some of which are not officially recognised or recorded.

"And to me, it presents a case why we should continue to have our local poultry production, because our statistics on the contribution of agriculture and poultry in general to the GDP is very much underestimated.

"A lot of the production does not come under official economic statistics and I am of the view that the current contribution that agriculture makes to the GDP, stating it at five per cent grossly underestimates the contribution that agriculture is making to the GDP of this country and I really think that is an issue we have to review and to see if there is a way that we can reflect it better than we are doing at the moment," he stated.

On the question of production, he said that attempts will be made to refit some of the existing plants to serve consumers better in the future.

The BAS head told Barbados Advocate that with the economic situation, stressed that consumers need to shop around when it comes to the question of where they purchase their food.

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