A University of the West Indies study has cleared the state-run Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) of importing poultry to the detriment of the local industry.
The study, conducted by Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Dr Winston Moore and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Justin Robinson, examined the BADMC’s poultry imports and their impact on the poultry sector, amidst claims that such imports have proven injurious to local production. It also followed a recent controversy sparked by the BADMC’s decision to recommend approval of a licence for a food business to bring in two containers of chicken wings, a move which stakeholders including the Barbados Agricultural Society suggested could take bread out of the mouth of farmers and force layoffs.
But the survey found that there was little or no relationship between the corporation’s imports and any decline in sales or production. The research, which was released this morning by Chairman of BADMC, Shawn Tudor at its Princess Alice Highway office, looked at two main questions: is there a correlation between BADMC’s imports of poultry and local production/sales; and are there any other factors that predict local production and sales, besides imports of poultry products? “The analysis suggests that the annual poultry industry [excluding eggs and turkey] is worth around $150 million in sales, with the BADMC importing an estimated $5.5 million, or about 4 percent of total industry sales,” the researchers concluded.
“The proportion of total industry sales accounted for by BADMC imports are therefore relatively small and have always remained below the quota of 1.68 million kilograms per year.
Given the small size of the poultry imports, it is therefore not surprising that the analysis suggests that there was little or no relationship between BADMC imports and poultry production,” the experts discovered.
The study also attempted to identify other potential determinants of poultry production and consumption.
The analysis indicated that a determinant was the production of other meats.
“Chicken production tends to be associated with the production of meats such as pork, lamb, beef and the like. The analysis also demonstrates that there was a strong negative link between production and prices [wholesale or retail], which might be indicative of rising prices leading to reduced consumption and therefore production on the part of farmers,” according to the researchers. The entire industry was also found to be worth about $150 million in sales of chicken per year, but Tudor noted that when local turkey and egg sales are included, the value of the sector amounts to nearly $200 million. He wanted to know if the BADMC was earning $5.5 million in imports and to whom was the rest of the money going.
He is of the view that another more broad-based study commissioned by the farming community, would help to answer a number of questions that could position the producers to attract greater government investment. Such research, the BADMC chairman suggested, should examine ownership structure, employment levels, profitability and tax contributions to the treasury.
He believed that study would reveal the contribution of the local poultry industry in relation to a billion dollars which has been invested over the past several years.
Tudor disclosed that the sector produces an average nine million birds per year, but their sizes have
He is of the opinion that the decreasing size of the chicken coming on the market may be attributed to the decline in the producers’ profit margin.
He also suggested that the 300,000 kilograms of excess chicken on cold storage could be cleared, if the farmers reduced the price.
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