PNP expresses concern over hike on chicken prices by Jamaica Broilers
Shadow Minister of Agriculture and Water, Lothan Cousins

KINGSTON, Jamaica— Shadow Minister of Agriculture and Water, Lothan Cousins, has called on the government to engage the broiler companies immediately to protect the interests of the consuming public following the announcement of a 10 per cent increase in the price of poultry meat by Jamaica Broilers.

READ: Chicken prices soar again

Cousins said that the announcement is unfortunate and alarming as on a number of occasions last year, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the same company implemented price increases without challenge. He further stated that the size of this increase is far greater than any annual percentage price change over a 10 year (2011- 2020) period as measured by the Consumer Affair Commission (CAC) in its island-wide survey.

“The combined survey data shows, for example, that between 2015 and 2020, the increases were averaging below five per cent annually,” a People's National Party (PNP) release said.

The release stated that the data also shows that between January 2020 and December 2021, the price of chicken moved from an average of $526.21 per kg to $709.31 for Jamaica Broilers and during the same period, Caribbean Broilers' chicken moved from $534.50 per kg to $667.28.

The shadow minister said the nation now faces a worrying consideration of a virtual monopoly by the broiler companies on the production and sale of poultry meat consequent on import controls implemented over time by different political administrations to protect the local industry.

Cousins further stated that these controls were implemented to support the local productive sector with the clear and acknowledged understanding that the privilege should not be exploited.

“Unfortunately, the extent of the recent 10 per cent increase, coupled with price movement during the pandemic, is an unmistakable signal that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has lost its respectful relationship with the broiler group, which is now taking advantage of its near-monopoly position at the expense of the consuming public,” he said.

The Opposition Spokesman said the broiler companies should be reminded of the protective support offered and advised that discussions are imminent on the said protective measures, with some relaxation strategies being possible in the interest of the struggling consumers.

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