The possible importation of two containers of chicken wings has ruffled the features of poultry farmers in Barbados.
The issue has them so worried, that their representative organisation –– the Barbados Egg & Poultry Producers Association –– will meet tomorrow morning with the Government agency that’s responsible for issuing the licences.
President of the association, Andrew Gill, told Barbados TODAY this evening he would hold discussions with the Barbados Agricultural Development & Marketing Corporation (BADMC) to examine the implications of any move to bring in chicken wings. Gill declined to speak further on the matter, promising a statement after the talks.
In the meantime, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party has added its voice to the issue.
Shadow Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Gline Clarke said the Government must explain if it was prepared to allow the importation of the wings by a private entity to the disadvantage of farmers, feed producers and restaurateurs.
“Further, Government must state if they have changed the policy from the BADMC being the sole importer of chicken wings and from the controlled price of any such importation,” Clarke asserted.
The shadow minister argued that two containers were a huge amount of chicken wings to import into the island.
“If this is permitted, and the wings placed on the market, it will have a major impact on local producers of chicken wings and a boomerang effect on feed manufacturers, as they stand to lose two kilos in feed sales for every kilogramme of imported poultry,” Clarke insisted.
He argued that chicken wings were subject to a controlled price, unlike turkey wings.
“The cost of storage are prohibitive and hence they are unlikely to attract sales to third parties.
“If the wings are used in the substantive business of the company, it will give that business an unfair and improper advantage in the price of food over competing food operations.
“The BLP,” Clarke continued, “is cautioning Government not to go down this road and create another instance of an uneven playing field for farmers and businesses already on the brink of insolvency.”
He suggested that “such confused and ad hoc policymaking undermines all the rules of fair trade competition”.
The Opposition parliamentarian called on the Barbados Agricultural Society, the Barbados Manufacturers Association and the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry to join in the call to ensure that no such “rash” action on the government’s part occurs in relation to chicken wing importation
“The BLP is totally against any such move, when there has been no case for it made by local farmers, manufacturers or restaurants and the bodies that represent them. Our economic conditions are took tight for this arbitary action to favour one or two people,” Clarke stated.
He claimed there were already similar complaints regarding importation of vegetables affecting farmers.