Increase in local poultry quotas imminent; importers still to benefit

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Increase in local poultry quotas imminent; importers still to benefit
Former Minister Moses Jn Baptiste
Minister Moses Jn Baptiste
Minister Moses Jn Baptiste

Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste has said that the logistics are still being worked out before a final decision is made to increase the local purchase requirement of poultry.

The minister said this plan is not aimed at hurting anyone’s business, but ensuring that everyone has an equal share in the industry and there is no special treatment for any one group.

“You cannot develop an economy where one side seems to be the “lion’s share holder” so to speak and the rest of the farmers and fishers and are not part of the big part of the economy,” he said.

Jn Baptiste said when the banana industry was booming, the people who benefited most were the individuals with the shops in Castries, who sold clothes and vehicle.

“These are the people who got the “lion’s share” of the impact of the banana industry in St Lucia,” he said.

The agriculture minister is of the opinion that if the economy is going to be developed, the government has to ensure that the foundation structures are re-established.

“We believe that if farmers are given an opportunity to earn a living, the very importers will gain. The farmers will have more disposable income and they will go into the stores, to purchase the imports that those other private sector businesses are bringing in,” he explained.

Jn Baptiste said he does not see any conflict in the decision to increase the quota. “We are working with the importers and we are working with everybody, to ensure that the way this happens is that something we all agree on. We don’t want it to be something that is forced down somebody’s throat.”

Government had delayed the implementation of a planned 40 percent local purchase requirement for the importation of poultry meat, to hold consultations with poultry importers.

The new quota system was scheduled to take effect on May 27, 2015.

Importers are not pleased with the decision and have said the decision taken by the ministry will see a huge increase in poultry products on the local market.

They have been subsidizing the cost of poultry, with the purchase of local chicken, but this could become impossible with this new decision.

Currently, imported chicken are much cheaper than local chicken.

The St Lucia Poultry Association (SLPA) has said it is optimistic about increase in local poultry quotas.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. It is obvious that some of these comments are biased in favor of importers who gain money for now, but in the future can see drastic reductions in their business as the economy collapses on itself from n imbalance of trade. Not to be political here, because we have become a nation of placing color on statements which do not agree with our own, but i think that the minister is right. We have to make small steps towards reducing our food import bill, so we need to work with farmers in order to be scientific and deliberate about food production.

    We must understand that making our economy sustainable requires prudent management that takes the entire population into consideration and not just the interest of a select few. All of the large countries are doing this, that is why they can afford to produce large volumes consistently. Their governments and big businesses back farmers of corn, Chicken production to name a few. In fact companies routinely portray themselves as farmers whilst the real farmers are exploited like workers in their chain.

    So let us build an economy that we are proud of by ensuring all players benefit, i.e. suppliers, farmers, and consumers.

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  2. You have to back local farmers against importers. You import when you can't get something done yourself.

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  3. Mr. Minister, it s the myopic thinking that keeps us from moving forward. There are good reasons why the importers are concerned. You have international Franchises operating here, governed by the policies of the Franchisors. Our plants do not meet the international production standards, the local suppliers cannot consistently supply the specified products needed to run such a business. That is bird weight and size. The local suppliers cannot meet the demands of the Chicken restaurant trade. I hope these companies close their shops and take their business elsewhere, where politicians have common sense.

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