There is a possibility that the price for local chicken and eggs would increase in Grenada due to the coronavirus.
A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY that local poultry producers are now paying higher prices for the imported shipment of feed that arrived on the St. George’s Port today (Saturday) from neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago.
The Grenada Association of Poultry Producers (GAPP) was forced to look outside of the country for feed due to the closure of Caribbean Agro Industries where a small cluster of the COVID-19 disease broke out among employees.
According to the source, poultry farmers have been charged EC$120.00 per bag for the 100 lb bag which was supplied by the National Flour Mill of Trinidad & Tobago.
He said that Caribbean Agro will charge between $38.00 -$40.00 for each bag of 50 lb feed that is produced at the local mill.
“Price of eggs and local chicken will go up. Farmers will not be able to absorb the cost otherwise they will not be able to buy feed next time. We have to take it at that price ($120.00) or the chicken will die”, said another farmer.
One farmer told this newspaper that he had lost 100 birds in recent days due to a lack of feed.
“I was losing twelve to fifteen birds each day”, he remarked.
The farmer pointed out that the industry is now at “a real critical stage” due to the downturn in economic activities on the island including the closure of many hotels due to the coronavirus.
“We just have to keep praying”, he quipped.
The farmers were angry when the Port refused to give clearance to the shipment of 900 bags of feed since no importation licence was presented to them in keeping with the licensing regime required for the shipment.
Trade Minister Oliver Joseph had assured the association that the license would be made available but failed to deliver on the promise.
The association was able to remove the consignment of feed on trucks that took them in the vicinity of the National Stadium near to the Grenlec power plant.
In an apparent effort to explain the situation over the long delay in allowing the farmers to get their shipment of feed, the government issued the following release today under the caption, “GOVERNMENT HELPS FACILITATE EMERGENCY SHIPMENT OF FEED FOR POULTRY PRODUCERS”.
“Collaborative efforts between the Government of Grenada and the Grenada Association of Poultry Producers, resulted in a shipment of emergency feed arriving on Saturday, for immediate distribution to farmers across the country.
“The need for the emergency shipment arose due to the closure of Caribbean Agro Industries, the primary supplier of such products.
“Minister of Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs, Honourable Oliver Joseph, said Government was prompt in taking the necessary actions to facilitate the shipment.
“He said, “The process required issuance of a trade licence to the Grenada Association of Poultry Producers and a waiver of Government duties on the shipment, both of which were promptly facilitated by the respective ministries. These are challenging times but through collaboration among stakeholders, we can overcome the hurdles that may arise.
“Government is certainly pleased to have been able to help facilitate the supply of feed for poultry producers and we reiterate our commitment to the farmers of the country. Now more than ever, we have to focus on ensuring the survival of local industries and improving the country’s food security.”
“Minister Joseph said Government is prepared to facilitate other requests for trade licences to import feed to ensure that poultry farmers are not faced with a similar shortage, during the COVID-19 pandemic”.