October 7, 2003



CSME - Less Beneficial to Poultry Farmers of Developing Countries


The upcoming Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) was not created to be beneficial towards poultry farmers of small countries. This was the view of the President of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers' Association (BEPPA) Carlyle Braithwaite as he addressed its members on Saturday at their annual general meeting held at Sherbourne Centre. Speaking on the CSME, Braithwaite said, "We are talking about working on a level playing field that is not really level."


Responding to a comment made by one of the members, Braithwaite believed less developed and poorer countries were at a disadvantage with regard to the World Trade Organisation, Free Trade Area of the Americas and the CSME, compared to developed countries that already were familiar with these. Braithwaite added he had received information that the topic of poultry was a non-negotiable agricultural entity within the CSME and said pressure should be placed upon the relevant authorities to ensure it would be addressed.


Speaking on the issue of the importation of chicken wings, he said that while the past situation with the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) had been resolved, it was their Board's intention to monitor the number of chicken wings being imported on a monthly basis. Saying the organization was satisfied that the BADMC was operating within the parameters of the agreement; Braithwaite issued a warning saying nevertheless there were "some unscrupulous importers who will still seek to press for more imports of poultry to the detriment of local producers."


Urging members to be fully aware of their power as a group to prevent this type of situation, he reminded them of government's agreement to limit the importation to a maximum of 140 000 kg per month which makes up 13-15% of the total industry.


Braithwaite continued by saying that imported poultry was not beneficial to the local farmer as high levels of it would result in a loss of finance and employment within the industry and stated his hopes for a gradual removal of imports.


Stressing that continual vigilance was needed to ensure the industry's interests are looked after, he stated it was time for farmers to work together to effectively compete during the times of globalisation and trade liberalisation.