July 18, 2023


Guyana's decision to import chicken from Brazil slammed by opposition politician




Guyana's Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, has condemned a move by the South American country's government to import chicken from neighbouring Brazil to meet the local demand.


Addressing supporters at Stabroek Square, Norton said the move to the lift the ban on imported chicken could decimate the local poultry industry.


As the government disputed reports of a shortage of local chicken, it had also lifted the ban on poultry imports. The move was intended to cushion the impact being felt in the poultry industry as a result of a deadly poultry virus – Inclusion Body Hepatitis (IPH) – that had resulted in a drop in local production.


Through the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), the Ministry of Agriculture is selling the imported bulk chicken to local poultry producers and farmers at a cost of $285 per pound.


However, Norton believes that the government could have better cushioned the impact by subsidising the cost of feed to increase production.


"A government that is sensible will subsidise the feed and help our farmers to produce chicken at a proper cost. But the (Guyana) President (Irfaan Ali) doesn't think," Norton said.


Ali had acknowledged that the high cost of feed was a major issue. He stated that in poultry production, feed accounts for 70% of costs.


"There are three important inputs to feed – the production of the feed here in Guyana – rice, broken rice, corn and soya," Ali said. "From 2020 to now, the cost of rice as an input to feed increased by 100%; the cost of soya as an input to feed increased by 65% and the cost for corn as an input to feed increased by 55%, and that is what constitute 70% of growth. Now, what is the contributing factors to the increase in cost: the war in Ukraine, but importantly, (it) is the shipping and logistics cost."


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