“Increasing purchase of local poultry will encourage food security” – agriculture minister

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“Increasing purchase of local poultry will encourage food security” – agriculture minister


Despite fears that there could be repercussions over the increase purchase of local poultry by poultry importers, Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste has suggested otherwise.

The minister said that the new arrangement being considered is aimed at promoting food security and allowing local producers to reap some benefits from the market.

He told the media that the percentage allocated to local producers are constantly reviewed and should not be an issue, as the country obeys all the rules in trade agreement.

Jn Baptiste said he does not believe that the United States will institute penalties against St. Lucia for increasing the purchase of local poultry.

At present, importers are required to include 25 per cent of local poultry in their total purchase. Government has suggested a 10 per cent increase, which has inspired debates surrounding this issue.

Reports are that St. Lucia could face penalties if such a change is made. Exporters to St. Lucia have warned that the move is an illegal one and breaches principles of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The United States has questioned the imposition of the domestic purchase requirement for the importation of poultry. The Ministry of External Affairs has also written the Ministry of Agriculture informing them of the United States’ concerns regarding this issue.

Poultry importers have said should the percentage of local chicken be increased, they stand to lose big. The poultry importers and the ministry have met before, but there is no clear indication as to the next move.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. "Poultry importers have said should the percentage of local chicken be increased, they stand to lose big...."
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    To hell with the local producers; let's keep importing; let's keep our pockets fatten.

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  2. We are so far away from self sufficiency its not funny. It takes time to get there and the Gov'ts approach is definitely NOT the correct one. How can increasing the quota without holding the processors accountable get us anywhere. Just more money for the processors or NOT. Will you buy chicken at $5.50/lb??? Really... I for one will not.

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  3. Let's expand the self- sufficiency program . Increase local food production and consumption and decrease importation of non-essential food products. This would decrease our import bill, increase employment, and certainly improve on our health (less chemicals in our food).

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  4. Why is the cost of local chicken so expensive and why would the government even want to increase the quota if there are no improvements demanded from the local processors. Why aren't the local processors working to lower their cost of production. Increasing the quota will only increase to cost of chicken for us St Lucian people. I am NOT buying LOCAL chicken at $5.50/lb. It's insane. This is supposed to be the cheapest form of protein. Why aren't they demanding more from the processors that they are protecting.

    At the end of it all, the farmers are not the ones making the money (just ask the president of the local poultry association), the number of poultry farmers that have defaulted on loans, and barley breaking even.

    The real winners in this is the processors. Lets stop hiding the truth from the St Lucian people... St Lucians, ask questions, demand answers, because at the end of it ALL, We are the the ones who will feel the hurt.

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  5. I am a concerned citizen/consumer who understands the industry very well and I can confidently say that we are being misled. Firstly, the local chicken quota requirement to import by importers is not 25% as stated above. It is actually 33.33% and calculated as follows: (25/75) x 100 = 33.33%.

    I believe in growing the local industry but not in the manner which is being proposed by the local poultry association and the government.

    For those of you who did not know, the poultry importers are the ones who subsidize the local poultry farmers industry and it is very expensive. Importers buy local chicken from the two processors on the island; Hylyne Poultry Farms and DG Farms for $5.50 / lb. The importers then sell that same local chicken at $3.00 /lb and sometimes cheaper.

    You may ask the question why? The average person can’t afford to buy chicken (the cheapest protein) at a rate of $5.50/lb or higher. The local chicken is there for subsidized by the importers at a heavy cost to them and to the people of St. Lucia since the loss on the local chicken has to be absorbed by the importer chicken.

    Also, the local chicken being sold by the processors comes in 2 forms, Mixed Parts or Whole Chicken, (most of the time or should I say 95% of the time).

    People who want to buy parts, for instance, wings, backs, legs, leg qtrs, chicken breast, etc., aren’t able to since importers do not have the option to buy these parts in large quantities. For example, an importer can’t call on one of the processors to give 400 thirty pound cases of chicken wings, 200 cases thirty pound cases of leg qtrs, etc., at any given time.

    The local processors are protected by a quota and from their vantage point, the importers are required to buy regardless of what they offer, and the cheapest and easiest solutions is to process Whole Chickens and Mixed Parts.

    There is a lot more to be said and will be brought to the Ministry of Agriculture for discussion from an importers standpoint.

    The local industry is important and none of the importers will ever deny that but we have to do our due diligence and ensure that we don’t rush to any decisions without looking at both sides of the coin.

    Importers also play a very important role in the industry and would urge the powers that may be to give us a chance to meet so that we can show the economic impacts of raising the quota.

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    • Ok Mr Importer. I understand. Looking after your pocket. You need to realise that that more you buy from local producers, the more they will expand their business and achieve economies of scale and produce cheaper bird. This will auger well for the future of our country: a lower import bill, a healthier population as we dont consume all that rejected chicken from the US. Every country in the world, including the US protects the local producers. It is good for the economy. It is true it might take away your dream of becoming a billionaire from selling cheap, rejected imported chicken.

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  6. Lower the price of the poultry feeds and products for farmers, so they can produce a cheaper bird or else we will never be able to compete

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  7. Yes the poultry farmers will get it good and the small man will have to pay for it. In these hard times it is difficult to buy a pound of local chicken at $5, where as the imported is as low as $1.30. Do the maths.

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  8. Moses JnBaptiste you are one of my favorite politicians and i am dont support any political party . I think the time has come for us too stick to the U.S. We need a leader with gonads to rise at this time(too many spineless ones walking about). America looking after THEIR BEST INTEREST WHEN HELL ARE WE GOING START LOOKING AFTER OUR OWN BLOODY INTEREST.

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