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We applaud DIDCO Trading for its innovative enterprise, and for its confidence that Guyana could be self-sufficient in poultry.
For this to happen, the business community needs the support of the political elites that the safety of their investment would be guaranteed. This in turn needs political stability, as American Ambassador Mr. Ronald Godard rightly pointed out at the DIDCO Commissioning.
It is elementary that, like ink and paper, investment needs political stability if the story of development is to be written properly. Political jitters either create a brake on existing business, or scare away potential ones.
We need not remind ourselves of the lost opportunities for investment in projects such as Beal Aerospace and the power sector. They faded away because of undue influence of politics.
In former times, when the major political parties boasted of their ideological credentials, we would be treated to a lecture on the dialectical unity and inter-connectedness between the “political superstructure and the economic base”.
It was when we mal-functioned politically that Guyana lost the pride of place it once enjoyed for sufficiency in poultry production. For several years the slump in this industry forced us to import frozen chicken parts.
Fortunately, several pioneers came forward to stem the import flood. They invested in local stockfeeds, hatcheries, chicken farms and consumer outlets for local birds.
The statistics trotted out by sector Minister Satyadeow Sawh are stunning. He revealed that investment in poultry has increased from US$30 million two years ago to US$50 million today. Guyana now produces 19,713 tonnes of poultry.
We welcome the move by Government to increase the tariff on imported chicken from 40 percent to 125 percent, which serves as a direct incentive to our poultry farmers. In this regard we note with interest the recent measures taken in Barbados to protect small-scale chicken farmers when Prime Minister Owen Arthur raised import duty on turkey wings, chicken backs and necks by 40%.
The Bajan government has done that in the face of huge imports between 1998 and 2001 of some 7.3 million pounds of chicken.
Chicken production no doubt has contributed to the thriving, tasty, food industry. There is variety and versatility in the industry so much so that visitors to Guyana look forward with relish to dishes ranging from home-cooked curries to chicken-foot souse, and chicken-neck cook-up. Whether we order from Royal Castle, KFC, Salt and Pepper or from the dozen other outlets, our fried chicken is more tasty and succulent than anywhere else on planet earth.
There is no doubt that with the bullish approach of our chicken breeders and farmers, Guyana can maintain its own in chicken production.