BADMC grants poultry request
The Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) has defended the importation of a container carrying just over 24,000 kilograms of chicken wings expected to arrive in the island tomorrow.
The BADMC said it sanctioned the importation by Paul’s Enterprises Limited, operators of Lucky Horseshoe Restaurant, because poultry farmers simply could not provide all the market needs.
That position is contained in a letter dated May 30 and addressed to chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, from the BADMC, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.
“It is without contradiction that the local poultry industry cannot supply any additional chicken wings to the local market in the quantity desired. It is, therefore a redundancy
and an exercise in posturing to speak of asking the industry if they could supply the requested amount.
“Knowing the above to be a fact, the BADMC granted the request. Even if the shipment was applied to the BADMC’s, it is still within the annual quota, equivalent to 140 000 kilogrammes per month,” the letter stated.
“The Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA) questioned the size of the shipment, stating that their calculations indicate that the size of the shipment is equivalent of five years’ supply for that restaurateur, based on the history of his previous orders. There may be several reasons for this alleged discrepancy –– e.g. that the restaurateur’s operation had been previously constrained by what could be obtained in the local market. The point is that the size of the shipment, 24 005 kilogrammes is a miniscule 1.42 per cent of the annual quota that was given to BADMC.”
Responding to the BEPPA charges that BADMC did not consult the industry on the matter, the corporation said: “It appears that the nature of the consultation to which you refer is an effective veto by the players in the poultry industry. That approach is prone to arbitrary actions and discrimination. The only objective method is the quota system.
“The assertion was made that granting importation authorisation to this restaurateur would set a precedent for all other major restaurateurs to advance similar requests, and that the granting of such authorisation would be the ‘death knell’ of the local poultry industry.”
The BADMC added that Paul’s Enterprises made it clear the shipment of chicken wings was not for redistribution in the local market.
According to the letter, Paul Enterprises Ltd has agreed to waive its right to import a second container, for which approval was granted by BADMC, until after a study of the impact of the importation is completed by June 30, 2014.
Meanwhile, BAS CEO James Paul, who yesterday complained about the BADMC’s decision, acknowledged receiving the letter but said the person who crafted the correspondence was either not fully informed or badly advised.
“The industry certainly has incontrovertible evidence that a lot of the comment contained in the letter are inaccuracies and do not relate to the factual situation. We are just saying that the process that was followed was not in keeping with the protocol,” he told Barbados TODAY
“The protocol states that the BADMC should consult with the poultry growers before any importations and that was not done. The BADMC is claiming that the shipment is equivalent to five years supply but I am saying that it is equivalent to seven years.”
Disputing claims that the local poultry growers cannot supply the needs of the market, Paul pointed out that the growers currently had over 400,000 kilograms of whole chicken and wings.
Meanwhile, BEPPA president Andrew Gill told Barbados TODAY the BADMC was in breach of the protocol which stated his association should be consulted on any imports.
When contacted chief executive officer of the BADMC, Glendene Bartlett, said a statement would be issued on the matter later.
Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Donville Inniss, who is responsible for granting poultry licences, said today that discussions on the matter were continuing.
While not saying much on the controversy, he admitted that there was a need for review of the current mechanisms.