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Consumers Must Expect Chicken Price Hike

by 5m Editor
13 June 2011, at 10:44am

BARBADOS - The industry has warned that rising feed costs will push up the prices of chickens to consumers.

Barbadians can expect to be paying more for chicken by next month, reports Barbados Advocate. This, says, the President of the Barbados Eggs and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA), Wendell Clarke, is due to the increase in feed prices.

Mr Clarke told the newspaper that, in about three weeks time, consumers will have to pay more for the preferred choice of protein, but he said that the BEPPA has not ruled out seeking assistance from Government to keep the price down as much as possible. Earlier this month, Pinnacle Feeds announced it was raising the price of its poultry and livestock feeds, explaining that the continued rise in commodity prices, especially hikes in corn have substantially increased its operating expenses.

Mr Clarke said: "We are looking at ways and means of getting the cost stabilised for the consumers because it is in our interest that consumers pay as low a price as possible because the lower the price, the more people would consume the product and then we can produce more. We are putting some ideas together and very shortly may even be looking to see if our Central Government can assist in any way, in providing some kind of price support system or mechanism as it did in 2008."

He added that he is aware that such an initiative would have to go to the several ministries for approval and would also require dialogue with the feed producers as well as the poultry producers, but he said that it is not impossible. Such an initiative, he said, would not only keep poultry products on the tables of Barbadian households, but also help to sustain the sector.

He continued: "When prices increase we obviously get a reduction in demand. Consumers have a choice and when our price is higher to purchase alternative meat as a source of protein, and resort to those, rather than choosing our chicken as they are accustomed doing. Right now it is the cheapest protein on the market and we would like to remain in that position and we will do our best to remain in that position."

The BEPPA head said that in addition to the price hikes in the feed sector, poultry farmers have had to struggle with increases in the cost of electricity and water, both key inputs for the sector, reports Barbados Advocate. These issues, he said, have been and continuing to be vexing issues for the sector and every effort is being made to come up with plausible solutions.