Retailers complain of chicken shortages
Price up to $160 per lb
Stabroek News
November 11, 2003

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Retailers are complaining that they cannot get enough chicken and that major poultry suppliers are not capable of satisfying demand. Retail prices have now gone up to $160 and in some places have reached as much as $200 per lb.

Mimoon Khan, a poultry distributor from Bourda Market said, "I am not getting the amount of chicken I want." She pays $125/lb at Didco and $150/lb at Buddy's, for wholesale chicken and is now retailing at $170 -$180/lb.

At Bourda Market live birds were yesterday being sold at $140 -$150/lb while at both Bourda and Stabroek markets, local plucked chicken was being sold between $170 - $180/lb. Imported chicken is available at around $180/lb at both markets.

Middleman, Mohamed Ali of Berbice who buys up to 6000 lbs every week, says he cannot get chicken. He is selling what he has left at $180 per pound wholesale. He adds, "it may be $200 by the weekend, since Georgetown has no chicken."

Ali told Stabroek News this has been ongoing for about three weeks and he is concerned about what will happen come Christmas time.

Checks with various producers revealed that there were shortages. One producer said any order over 5,000 pounds was not available right now and that even 500 - 1000 lbs would be difficult to supply.

A representative at another firm said that they were wholesaling chicken at $150 and retailing at $160 per pound. However, they had no wholesale supplies until later in the week. The situation was the same at another producer, which said no chicken was available at the moment. Their prices were $140 wholesale and $150 retail.

A large producer said, "You cannot get 5,000 pounds of chicken unless you are a regular customer.

Even 500 pounds is not available. The most chicken available on demand is 50 pounds."

Observers say many of the problems with local supply have come about because of the sharply increased tariff on imported parts imposed in November.

Paul Singh, a retailer in Berbice says, "when the Government put pressure on imported chicken they said they would have enough to supply local needs. However prices have risen from $125, to $140, to $150, to $160 and we're not getting enough."

Importer Kumar Ramsundar of Marine Foods Industries, said most retailers had to book about two or three days ahead to get chicken.

He also said that some outlets are now selling chicken at $190 - $200/lb, while before the tariff, chicken was $95 - $105/lb wholesale, and retailing at $115.

The Bureau of Statistics has recorded that for the month of October retail prices have averaged $167.89.