This one is about importing poultry and dancing calypso ... enjoy!:
ALOBBY group representing American broiler companies is pushing Jamaicans to buy more poultry and eggs from the United States, but the agriculture ministry is not keen on the pitch, saying Jamaica is already selfsufficient in those products.
Their outreach comes amid rising concern from regional poultry companies about the possibility of substandard US poultry products entering their markets.
Still, the Americans may find an opening for chicken necks and backs, demand for which, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries indicated, is not fully supplied by local producers.
Otherwise, no whole birds or parts were imported last year, the ministry told the Financial Gleaner.
The USA Poultry and Egg Council took out a full-page advertisement touting the millions of tons of chicken, turkey and duck, and billions of eggs produced by the US each year, the loving nature of their poultry producers, and their technology.
Leah Cochran Mulcahy, USA poultry director for Latin America & the Caribbean, did not respond to requests for comment on the outreach and targets related to the Jamaican market.
The agriculture ministry said via email that Jamaica has been “self-sufficient in table eggs and chicken – with the exclusion of necks and backs – for several years”.
Last year, Jamaica imported 21.3 million kilogrammes of neck and backs only, valued at US$14.4 million. An undisclosed volume of fertile eggs were imported, but for hatching purposes only.
Local sources in the broiler industry said the American producers are hunting a piece of the US$8-billion regional market for poultry and eggs in “their backyard”.
One industry member, who requested anonymity to speak frankly, said the local US trade representative considered it
What do they expect us to do – import their foods and dance calypso?
among his duties to press for more imports for the American poultry sector.
The person said, however, that the US already gets a lot of business from Jamaica, while alluding to the current lobby efforts as a step too far.
“The US already benefits from the Jamaican poultry industry, as 40 per cent of the production inputs, including feed, are sourced from the US,” said the person.
“They say they can produce food cheaper because of economies of scale. So what do they expect us to do – import their foods and dance calypso?”
Otherwise, the Caribbean Poultry Association has previously raised concerns that US poultry and poultry products do not conform with the specifications for poultry meat and feeds developed by CROSQ, the Caricom Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality.
The regional producers indicated in April that they were in discussion with the US Department of Agriculture over adoption of the CROSQ standards, including the labelling of poultry and poultry products with the date of slaughter so that substandard products do not enter the region.