PRODUCTION BACK UP, SAYS ASSOCIATION
By Sheria Brathwaite
The Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers’ Association (BEPPA) is assuring Barbadians that there is no shortage of eggs amidst reports of supply challenges.
Over the long weekend, several people reached out to Barbados TODAY complaining that some supermarkets were putting restrictions on eggs or were out of supply.
“I went to four different supermarkets during the weekend and there either were no eggs or you were restricted to one crate per person,” said one shopper.
However, BEPPA president Stephen Layne explained that based on his discussions with players in the industry there was no shortage.
“I spoke to a number of farmers and there is no issue. In fact, our largest producer, Chickmont, was picking up 50 000 eggs per day [from the coops] and they are building stock,” he said.
Layne added that Chickmont was asked to produce more eggs and a new flock of birds they recently acquired had just reached maturity. He explained that laying hens usually produced small eggs then gradually produced medium and large eggs.
“Most of their birds are young birds so they are not short of eggs, only full-sized eggs. This will change in another couple of weeks as those birds get more mature. Chickmont is also producing a lot of liquid eggs for bakeries and other businesses that do manufacturing with liquid eggs. So there are a lot of eggs but not full-sized eggs.”
The BEPPA president explained that Chickmont, which usually produced about 40 per cent of eggs, was asked to increase production as the other main producer was experiencing challenges and there was a big demand for locally-produced liquid eggs since the cost to import the product became more expensive due to increasing production costs.
However, Layne said that it appeared that supermarkets did not want to purchase the small eggs, which would be a cost benefit to consumers.
“Smaller eggs are sold cheaper but supermarkets are making a decision for the consumers it would seem. Supermarkets are always looking at their bottom-line. It’s about money for them. So if they can’t make as big a profit on it they would probably prefer to not go with it,” he said.
Layne added that consumers could get their egg needs met by buying directly from farmers in their communities, which he said in most instances, was cheaper.