November 18, 2011
Caribbean poultry faces threat by cheap US imports
The Caribbean poultry industry is threatened by cheap US imports of chicken leg quarter, and representatives within the local industry are describing this as an unfavourable situation.
Speaking during a Trade Agreements and Trade Negotiations Seminar, Dr Desmond Ali, executive director of the Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA), which represents 15 poultry companies and three national associations in nine Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries, said the Caribbean was "in the unfortunate position of being located between Brazil to the south and the United States to the north that are the two largest exporters of poultry products in the world".
The poultry industry in Barbados and across the Caribbean is being urged to mount a challenge to deal with threats from cheap imports, coming especially from the United States.
Ali said the industry which makes sales in excess of BBD$1.3million (US$650million) annually has to sort out these threats as well as other issues.
The executive director explained that both Russia and China, two large importers of poultry, had taken decisions that they want to become major exporters of the products. The latter, he went on, took action against imports from the USA on the grounds that they were cheaper than the cost of producing the products in China, thereby resulting in a huge backlog of supplies in the USA.
"In the USA, there is a huge accumulation of dark (chicken) meat and the Americans have decided what better place to look for in disposing of it than in its own backyard, the Caribbean. A lot of it is therefore ending up in the Caribbean", Ali told the seminar.
The poultry sector is one of the largest sub-sectors in agriculture generating about US$650million in sales annually.