JAMAICA | Cousins says chicken meat price increase threatens poor people's nutrition

JAMAICA | Cousins says chicken meat price increase threatens poor people's nutrition

KINGSTON, Jamaica September 8, 2021 -  Opposition Spokesman of Agriculture and Water, Member of Parliament  Mr Lothan Cousins,  says he is concerned about the rapid increases in the price of poultry meat in the local market, which is causing a heavy burden on consumers who rely on the popular protein for daily sustenance.

In a statement today, Mr Cousins said the five percent price increase announced by Caribbean Broilers yesterday, comes against the background of recent increases and a shortage of chicken neck and back on the local market, a popular staple for the poorest consumers. “This five per cent increase is unconscionable at this time and will threaten a nutritionally balanced meal for many, particularly minimum wage earners,” he said.

There is a shortage of chicken neck and back on the local market, a popular staple for the poorest consumersThere is a shortage of chicken neck and back on the local market, a popular staple for the poorest consumersThe Opposition Spokesman is calling on the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to use its resources to intervene to ease the burden on the poor for protein sufficiency. He suggested that this be done by supporting the local poultry farmers who are now in need of day-old chicks and feed to restart operations after tropical storm Ida. Mr Cousins said the small farmers who produce some 30% of local output were severely impacted by the flood rains associated with Ida. 

Consequently, Mr Cousins said he is appealing for help to facilitate the farmers achieving a speedy recovery, which could take place in five to six weeks. He said if the Ministry does not assist, the country could be left to the mercy of the Broiler companies, as the weather impacting occurrence portends a shortage of chicken meat in the coming weeks.  

Mr Cousins called on the Minister of Agriculture, Floyd Green, to convene an urgent meeting of industry players to discuss the present state of the poultry industry.  In addition, he said this meeting should also focus on formulating a plan and strategy to ensure that Jamaicans can access adequate supplies of chicken meat. 

He said while he was well aware of those challenges facing the Broiler companies, the country needed more information on the new issue of Covid 19 costs, which Caribbean Broilers cited as a reason for the price increase. 

The Opposition Spokesman said the matter was of utmost urgency and urged the Minister to act without delay, utilizing all the existing agencies and farmers’ organizations under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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