Poultry farmers defend increase in the cost of eggs

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PRESS RELEASE FROM Antigua and Barbuda POULTRY FARMERS ASSOCIATION

 

Several months ago, the Antigua & Barbuda Poultry Farmers Association commenced dialogue with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs to review the cost of producing eggs and broiler meat in Antigua & Barbuda.

The executive of the ABPFA was charged with the responsibility of looking at the current market wholesale price of eggs in the country and recommending to its members and
stakeholders in the industry what would be a reasonable wholesale price for eggs and broiler meat.

As is customary over the years, we opened dialogue with the officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs.

Not that the government or the Ministry was responsible for the setting of prices at which farmers would sell eggs for, but out of consideration for the long-standing relationship
between the two (2) bodies.

The executive found it necessary to continue in lockstep with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs to ensure that both parties had the same information and understanding as always.

Discussions commenced in earnest with the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Colin O’Keiffe; Director of Agriculture, Mr. Gregory Bailey; Chief Veterinary Office, Dr. Tubal Edwards; Ms. Cheryl Edwards, Consultant on Poultry matters within the Veterinary & Livestock Division within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs and other Officials and Technicians within the aforementioned Ministry.

The ABPFA made representation for Poultry Farmers within Antigua & Barbuda regarding the situation on the ground facing farmers which includes but is not limited to the following: –

Cost of Feed supplies which has seen dramatic increases of more than 100% over the past
10 years and more.

Since switching from Styrofoam Egg Boxes to the biodegradable egg boxes more than 125% increase in the cost.

High costs being experienced for the cost of electricity required during production and
storage of eggs.

High costs being experienced for the cost of water supplies required in any agricultural
production.

Increased costs over the years in labour costs

A dramatic increase in the costs of construction and building supplies to construct poultry
houses and other facilities on farms and for maintenance.

Increased costs over the years for other inputs used in poultry production such as feeds,
water dispensers used inside of pens and other equipment.

With changes to climate conditions being experienced this has caused farmers significantly
to make changes to adapt facilities to reduce losses in livestock. Farmers have not been
able to have a clear path to access assistance from the Department of the Environment to
be able to upgrade and adapt their farms.

Difficulties being faced by farmers to access hassle free, affordable financing for their
operations via banks, credit unions or other financial institutions. Farming in Antigua &
Barbuda is seen as very high risks and farmers are not looked at favourably way by financial institutions.

The inability to access long term leases for agricultural lands which farmers currently
occupy, and new farmers seek to occupy and ply their trade.

These are just some of the many challenges facing Poultry Farmers throughout the length and breadth of Antigua & Barbuda. The Antigua & Barbuda Poultry Farmers Association made this representation at a meeting to the Minister of Agriculture, Samantha Marshall; Permanent Secretary, Mr. Colin O’Keiffe; Director of Agriculture, Mr. Gregory Bailey; Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Tubal Edwards, and other officials. We also presented a cost of production to the same.

It was agreed at that meeting that the ABPFA will compile additional information and resubmit to the Ministry of Agriculture for review. This was done and a Team from the Veterinary & Livestock Division headed by Dr. Nneka Hull James met with the executive of the ABPFA for consideration. Dr. Nneka Hull James and her team swiftly reviewed the document and favourably responded to the need for an increase by the poultry farmers.

Further to this, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs swiftly assembled a broad team with persons from the Agriculture Ministry, Ministry of Finance, Statistics Division, Ministry of Trade, Prices and Consumer Affairs, Social Transformation, and other departments, along with the executive of the Antigua & Barbuda Poultry Farmers Association.

Together we explored the following and more: –

The economic impact to the consumer
The social implications on the less fortunate and the elderly
Ways in which farmers could be protected from the possibilities of imports
Sensitizing the public on the increase and the reason for it

However, it was agreed that based on trends around the world with the rising cost in grain and other inputs for feed that farmers did deserve an increase after 10 years of holding at the current prices.

It was agreed that we would continue to work on the other areas to improve production
efficiency and costs.

The proposed cost of eggs was at $11.00 EC per dozen WHOLESALE, however, at a nominal
profitability the ABPFA determined and agreed to institute a price of $10.00 EC per dozen for a period of the next 90 days, during which time a continuous review of any further changes in production cost will be carried out by all parties. This will help to determine if any further adjustments are required from the EC$10.00 WHOLESALE price. Please be reminded that this price is the WHOLESALE price ONLY.

This means that as of September 1, 2021 any business or individual purchasing a full case or 30 dozen or more at any one time will pay EC $10.00/ dozen or EC $300.00 per case. A costing of Broiler Meat Production is ongoing and the wholesale price per Ib will be
released shortly.

We implore of the resellers to the consumer to have the same care and consideration adopted by the ABPFA and its network of Poultry Farmers when determining a price to the consumers.

We continue to work on behalf of ALL Poultry Farmers in Antigua & Barbuda for the betterment of the sector. Antigua & Barbuda has been self-sufficient in egg production for several years. We are thankful for/to our partners in the industry and to you the consumers for your continued support over the years.

Our Poultry Farmers will continue to strive to provide the best quality of product to
the marketplace on a continual basis.

The Antigua & Barbuda Poultry Farmers Association would like to thank the Minister of Agriculture, Permanent Secretary, other Officials within the Ministry and all of the other stakeholder groups, departments within the government and agencies who worked with us feverishly as we addressed the concerns of all involved. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs to address all of the other concerns of the farming community and industry.

Always remember, TOGETHER WE CAN!

 

 

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. If eggs can be sourced overseas for half the cost, why nor open the market so cost effective eggs can be sourced?

    Another problem solved. Open the market for import, this monopoly is not good for consumers.

  2. What monopoly?!
    Different people sell egg in Antigua
    Not everybody sell egg for $10
    Y’all want to eat egg full with chemicals

    • Ask that again. Some people don’t realize that we are the ones killing ourselves by consuming the chemical when purchasing overseas fruits and vegetables. If it was the overseas eggs price went up that would have been fine for some. The cheapest always work out the most expensive. Who don’t want to buy them go back to yard fowl that east grass. The meat tough but it is sweet, I loved it.

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