Ministry moves to ease chicken shortageWednesday, January 06, 2016
AGRICULTURE Minister Derrick Kellier is expected next week to disclose strategies Government will be putting in place to address the current shortage of chicken meat on the local market.
Kellier’s office attributed it to an increase in demand, stating that "immediate and urgent steps" are being taken to address the problem.
Wholesalers and consumers have been complaining since last week that they have been unable to get the amount of meat they want, and that in some instances they are forced to buy it at a higher price.
One consumer in Portmore, St Catherine, told the
Jamaica Observer that she was asked by a shopkeeper to pay $200 per pound, up from the usual $170 and that she was told that only two pounds of chicken was being sold to each person because of the shortage.
The minister is slated to announce the plan to bump up production at the opening of new hatcheries at a commercial facility.
The ministry also told the Observer that the restrictions on imports of poultry and poultry products from some parts of the North America have been lifted. The ban was implemented in March of last year in the wake of an outbreak of bird flu in the United States.
"Importation is currently allowed from states which are already declared free of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and also those states, which were not affected by the disease," said director of the Veterinary Services Division, Dr Osbil Watson.
"We are currently in dialogue with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) on the matter of disease freedom (with respect to HPAI) in accordance with the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health," he added.
States which were affected by the restriction included Minnesota, Oregon, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri , California, Idaho, and Washington.
— Alphea Saunders
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