President of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association Carlyle Brathwaite has called on Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick to look into the importation of breaded and marinated poultry products into the country under a low 20 per cent customs duty rate.
He raised the concern today in an interview with the media during a seminar for egg and poultry farmers at the Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados.
Brathwaite cautioned that with the importation of breaded and marinated poultry products under the lower customs duty rate of 20 per cent, instead of 184 per cent, the local poultry industry stood to lose over 20 per cent of the market share.
“Our industry cannot afford to have these kinds of leakages. These leakages do the industry so much damage that instead of the industry growing, it stays dormant,” he said.
“We have been speaking with the ministries and the Minister involved. We in the association have been trying out best to have the challenge addressed.”
He told the media that Barbados brought up the issue at the level of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the grouping agreed that only fully cooked products would be able to be imported under that tariff rate.
“So the marinated products and all the other products would have to return to the tariff rating . . . which is for the normal chicken product. They would have to pay 184 per cent Customs duty instead of the 20 per cent rate of duty . . . We will be trying to get the Minister to have this issue resolved as soon as possible,” the association head said.
Meanwhile, in a brief presentation, Managing Director of Roberts Manufacturing Co., Ltd Jason Sambrano gave the egg and poultry farmers the assurance that for a nine-day period beginning May 1, they would benefit from a 3.5 per cent discount in the price of broiler feed purchased from that company.
He explained that the discount was being given because between November and December last year investigations carried out by the company revealed that the feed was not of the usual quality.