The decision by Pinnacle Feeds Limited to substantially increase the price of animal feeds from next month is not sitting well with Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir.
In fact, Weir has suggested that Government might have to start looking for additional suppliers if a compromise is not reached.
His comments have come following reports that Pinnacle Feeds was planning to hike the price of animal feeds by 26 per cent beginning August 1.
In a letter addressed to Weir dated July 28, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul indicated that he had been made aware of the pending price hike.
Paul said Pinnacle Feeds claimed the move was necessary due to the sustained increase in the price of corn on the world market.
As a result, Paul cautioned that the prices of chicken and other meat products would also increase.
But speaking to members of the media this morning on the sidelines of a groundbreaking for a new housing project in Rices, St Philip, Weir said he was surprised at the decision taken by Pinnacle.
He said the news that there would be increases in the price of livestock feeds had come as a shock.
“To be very honest with you this has taken me by surprise so I have to tell you up front that I am not yet aware of any increases simply because we met with all the stakeholders including Pinnacle and the Government has essentially agreed to put a price support mechanism in place and that is to be carried out. It was done based on the numbers that were given to us by Pinnacle so this is not something that we pull from the sky. We are monitoring the movements in the price of grains and certainly the conversation has to be ongoing…
“I am surprised to note that the media has been able to put out a story and equally surprised to know that it is already in the press simply because these are matters that we discuss at ministry level with all of our stakeholders, the poultry farmers, the dairy farmers, pig farmers and indeed the feed supplier,” Weir said.
He pointed out that the ministry would be engaged in discussions with Pinnacle Feeds and he hoped that an amicable resolution could be agreed.
However, the minister said should those discussions not prove fruitful Government may have to consider other feed suppliers.
“If it comes down to a case where the movement in the price of grains is such that Pinnacle itself does not feel the confidence in the Government and so they must increase their prices then we may have to look at how we may trigger other things to buffer what is taking place.
“As a businessman I was never, ever in my entire business career comfortable with one supplier of anything, so we may now have to look and see how we can sit down with Pinnacle and determine what the future is going to be. With all due respect to them, we have to talk and then we will take it from there,” Weir said.