Commerce Minister Nadir goes to markets
-to assess chicken supply
Stabroek News
November 20, 2003

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Just the right size for Christmas? Commerce Minister Manzoor Nadir (right) seems happy with this chicken he sized up during his tour of supermarkets yesterday to check on prices and supply. Second from right is Patrick deGroot. (Ken Moore photo) ??

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manzoor Nadir toured three supermarket outlets and the Bourda market yesterday to get a first- hand assessment of what the situation is with chicken prices and availability.

Supplies have been tight in recent months and observers have blamed this on the sharp tariff increase placed on imported chicken last November in a move to encourage local production. While processors have increased their output it appears they have not been able to iron out a cycle of glut and then scarcity which used to be mitigated by imported chicken.

Nadir visited Guyana Stores Limited, Fogarty's and Bounty Farm Ltd supermarkets. At each outlet he was told that Bounty chicken was being sold at approximately $175-$200/lb. The supermarkets visited were retailing only Bounty chicken. Guyana Stores Supermarket floor manager, Elain Gittens mentioned to Nadir that Bounty had sent them a release which notified them of a $10 increase in price.

She also noted that because of Didco Trading Company's small chicken size they chose not to distribute them. She added, "customers do not usually like the small chicken, so we chose not to sell them."

Patrick deGroot of Bounty said that any other customers outside the supermarkets would have to order their chicken 12 weeks in advance since they had to cater for the growth cycle of the chickens. He observed that this year there had been a glut of chicken and at that point they had had 190,000 lbs of chicken in pens. After this period there had been a shortage until they could restock their pens with birds.

In the Bourda market, stallholders complained to Nadir that they were not getting chicken at the prices they were accustomed to. Desiree Alladin said that she had been selling chicken at $160/lb up to a few weeks ago, but it was now at $180/lb. She added, "generally there is a problem not getting the normal amount. I have to be going here and there and all over the place for chicken."

Nadir suggested then that chicken had remained at the average price of $175 - $180 according to his research. Nazir Allihack however noted that while he would normally sell some 8,000 lbs of chicken per week he could now only obtain about 4,000 lbs. He appealed to the minister to reverse the large tariff increase on imported chicken. To this request Nadir replied that he would personally ensure that Allihack got his required amount.

Allihack said, "chicken is sometimes short for about two months but it has now stretched into about three months."