After a two week delay, the planned increase in flour and poultry products by the Mt. Gay-based Caribbean Agro Industries (CAI) is due to come into effect from Monday.
THE NEW TODAY was informed by one of the leading bakeries on the island that it was officially notified by the company that the price increases which range from 6% to 16% on some items are now a reality.
A Caribbean Agro notice posted at its Sales Office read in part: “Dear Valued Customer, Please be advised that the proposed flour and animal feed prices that was on hold will now be effective from February 15th, 2021. Also note that the new price information that was circulated for February 10th, 2021 remains in effect”.
Based on the new price structure in circulation over the past two weeks, the price of baking flour was being increased by 10%, Cooking flour by 12%, Poultry Feed by 6%, Hog Feed 12% and all other feed by 16%.
Caribbean Agro had told the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George that it had no choice but to increase the price of its products due to ‘developments occurring on the international grain market which is having a profound negative impact on the cost of sourcing key ingredients for manufacturing flour and animal feed’.
When contacted Saturday, President of the Grenada Association of Poultry Producers (GAPP), Jason Phillip said he had no official communication from government about the proposed increase but was informed by members that they saw a notice posted at the company’s Sale Office to this effect.
“I do not have anything officially from them indicating that. Persons who would have gone to the (Sales) counter on Friday would have met that Notice being posted there. I have not received anything from any ministry of government that indicate that there is an increase to be known. I am still waiting on the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture to formally inform me of any changes,” Phillip said.
According to the GAPP President, the last thing he knew was that the Ministry of Agriculture and Trade were engaged in discussions with Caribbean Agro on the proposed price increases that were put on hold.
“We are still waiting on an official response to tell us if the prices were changed it would be effective from a particular date. From all indications at this point I have not heard anything from government officials so I can only anticipate if the government has allowed this then we should have heard something from them by now.
“If the government has not allowed this then it means that Caribbean Agro has made their decision and they are moving ahead without any form of authorisation for that and we have to keep in mind that flour and feed are priced controlled item.
Phillip charged that before any changes in price of these items can come into effect, they are supposed to be authorised by the Consumer Affairs unit in the Ministry of Trade.
The GAPP boss warned that if the price increase is a reality then local consumers will have to pay more for poultry and bakery products in Grenada.
“If Caribbean Agro makes those price changes it means come Monday morning farmers and bakers are going to have to adjust their prices for the products that they sell,” he said.
Phillip disclosed that he will visit the Ministry of Trade on Monday to engage officials there in order “to get an urgent response because we need to know what is going on in order to forge the next process onwards”.
“If it is Caribbean Agro moves forward with this (price increase) and the government does not want it to be then I guess the government has to come out and say what action they will take,” he remarked.
Asked what kind of price increase can local consumers expect from poultry farmers for their products in the event of upward movement from Caribbean Agro for its products, Phillip said: “It is not a matter of if – once that happens there will be an automatic response from us – we have to see the prices that they would have increased the products by before we can finalise what it is.
“I don’t want to necessarily speculate too much but I suspect meat being purchased at a wholesale price may go up by between $1.75 and up to $2.00 a lb. and egg potentially increased by as much as $2 to $3 for a tray of 30 eggs,” he said.
With flour prices going upwards, Phillip said he anticipates that bakeries will also be charging more for their bread and pastries.