Govt: ‘More Talks With Chicken Importers’

THE Government of Saint Lucia has announced that it delayed, by six weeks, the implementation of a planned increase requirement for chicken importers, to allow for further consultation.

Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste said the new requirement aims to promote local food security and allow local producers to reap increased benefits from the market.

During his contribution to the budget debate, Minister Jn Baptiste said Saint Lucia has been importing “non-premium” chicken products since 2008.

“Is that what we are worth?” he questioned.

Imported chicken is cheaper than locally produced chicken because local producers have to spend more to rear chicken locally. However, local poultry products do not sell as fast as imported chicken due to its cheaper price.

Local producers have welcomed the government’s intended move, as it will help give them a fairer share of the local market, but chicken importers oppose the requirement increase and argue that it will push the price of chicken upwards.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Darius Gabriel, announced last week that the measure had been postponed for six weeks, to allow for hearing the importers’ concerns. Government hopes that the six-week window will be used to arrive at a consensus.

1 Comment

  1. This is the wrong way to go about things, in my opinion. The ultimate aim is to reduce the import bill and free up disposable income for other things, as well as promote independence.

    If you want to increase the supply of local chicken (or any other crop), you don’t forcibly lower the other necessarily. You are limiting the choice of people and distorting things further. Just start giving local producers some incentives;
    – 5% or no vat on feed. That is one input cost less for the producer.
    – Educate people about the quality of the chicken they are importing, how little nutrition they are getting for it and that local is better for you.
    -Maybe add a bit more tax on the import and ask the supermarkets how local producers can get into the supply chain. Give them incentives too. Have you not noticed that hotels always want the good stuff and top chefs always like fresh and local?

    I don’t see why this needs to be made into a confrontational issue. Put the right framework in place and I think it will quietly improve.

    Anyone else?

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