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Caribbean's Poultry Industry Under Threat from US

by 5m Editor
11 November 2011, at 9:23am

CARIBBEAN - The Caribbean's Poultry industry is under threat from the importation of chicken leg quarters from the United States of America.

The situation is becoming untenable, says Dr Desmond Ali, executive director of the Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA) which represents 15 poultry companies and three national associations in nine Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries.

Dr Ali was speaking at the Barbados Yacht Club this week during a Trade Agreements and Trade Negotiations Seminar hosted by the CPA, the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA) and the Barbados Agricultural Society.

He said the Caribbean was in "the unfortunate position of being located between Brazil to the south and the United States to the north who are the two largest exporters of poultry products in the world".

According to Jamaica Observer, the poultry industry in Barbados and across the Caribbean is being urged to mount a challenge to deal with threats from cheap imports coming especially from the United States.

Dr Ali said the industry which makes sales in excess of Bds$1.3 million annually has to sort out these threats as well as other issues.

He made the comments yesterday at a presentation entitled, Trade Agreements and Trade Negotiations, sponsored by the CPA, through the Barbados Agricultural Society and the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association.

The presentation at the Barbados Yacht Club was given by Trade Specialist, Dr Kusha Haraksingh.

"The industry is under threat because of the huge amounts of imports mainly from the USA," said Dr Ali.

The executive director explained that both Russia and China, two large importers of poultry, had taken decisions that they want to become major exporters of the products. The latter, he went on, took action against imports from the USA on the grounds that they were cheaper than the cost of producing the products in China, thereby resulting in a huge backlog of supplies in the USA.

"In the USA there is a huge accumulation of dark (chicken) meat and the Americans have decided what better place to look for in disposing of it than in its own backyard, the Caribbean. A lot of it is therefore ending up in the Caribbean" Dr Ali told the function.

He said that the industry in the Caribbean now has to look for ways to deal with the cheap imports from the USA.

The poultry sector is one of the largest sub-sectors in agriculture generating about US$650 million in sales annually.