Letters & Opinion, Trading Views

Cheap vs Healthy Chicken

Cheap vs Healthy ChickenSAINT Lucians consume a staggering amount of chicken, confirmed to be over the 80 percent mark. Chicken is not only at the top of the menu but at the top of the shopping list for most families. It is the biggest cash cow of the booming fast food sector.

Poultry has become a front burner issue here since it was announced a few months ago, that importers of chicken will need to satisfy a significantly higher local purchase requirement from 25 to 40 percent. This increase is not without its implications for local poultry producers but our focus here is one the consumers’ ability to make healthier choices.

There seems to be a recurring concern since this discussion began, that local chicken will be pricier than the imported product. It is a legitimate concern given the employment climate. Many low income consumers are attempting to feed their families with very little money and may not have the luxury of making the healthiest and best of choices, sadly enough.

Perhaps one of the ways in which the Ministry of Agriculture can approach this issue is to rally positive consumer response, through a revival of the Buy Local advocacy programme in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce. It seems to Abetta Country that the Buy Local campaign has sputtered and petted out. The revamping of the campaign should ensure that local poultry producers are given a platform to sell their compliance with the highest standards and regulations required in this industry. Consumers should be reminded of health risks and why chicken from outside markets are sometimes banned.

Poultry diseases are real. There are about 140 of them that have been identified. The use of chemicals in poultry plants from outside markets have been cause for concern in the recent past. Hypodermic needles pumping hormones into birds make for terrifying and serious health concerns and questions about the repercussions of this practice on human beings. This is not an attempt to scare off chicken lovers. This is the reality of some of the goings– on in this industry. Moreover healthy eating of chicken and other meats should form part of the overall thrust to promote healthy lifestyles while reducing the incidence of non–communicable diseases.

By Abetta Country

1 Comment

  1. It comes as a breath of fresh air to read about locally grown chicken vs imported chicken. It is for me, as a St. Lucian a matter of pride although I’m not a poultry farmer. The source of my happiness is the simple fact that no political party can claim the poultry industry as their baby. It grew out of dedication and hard work of the individuals producers and their workers.

    I think there are many more of that kind of initiative that can come to the fore. That is not to say there are none in the embryonic stage. Seamoss is another that is exhibiting signs of life. With nurturing it could make a significant contribution to the GDP.

    The point i want to emphasise is here is that these individuals did not wait on government to give them jobs. They created them for themselves and in so doing carried some others along with them. In time these could in turn create the need for other goods and services which may very well be possible to be produced locally.

    It would be a good thing if we at least spend half the time we spend criticising governments for not creating jobs on ventures through which we could derive an income. Governments don’t create jobs. The time when the state was directly involved in job creation, owned and controlled businesses is over. The sale Hewanorra Airport is an example of this trend. It can also be found in the industrialised countries like the UK for example. This country has sold off many of the businesses – London Transport, The Post Office, Heathrow, Thames Water to name a few – it once owned and controlled. So if you think government will have jobs to give think again. Its role is in creating the conditions for jobs to be created. This it achieves through the polices it adopts and the rest is done by you, me – entrepreneurs. And as long as the capitalist rational continues to dorminate the economic environment this will remain so.

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