BAS head issues stern warning to egg importers

Local importers should not see the ongoing egg shortage as an opportunity to “sabotage” this country’s egg and poultry industry.

This stern warning from Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul, who today issued a specific call to members of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other domestic importers to stop the habit of “willy-nilly importing” of products that do damage to the local productive sectors.

James Paul, CEO of the BAS
James Paul, CEO of the BAS

“The last experience we had of this was in relation to onions where our local import sector succeeded in sabotaging and undermining our fledgling onion industry in this country in order to profit in their pockets. I would hope that importers in this country do not see this [egg shortage] as an opportunity to sabotage our local poultry industry . . . I want to make that very clear,” he stressed, adding that with the signing of the recent memorandum of understanding between the agriculture and tourism sectors, he would be keeping hoteliers’ feet to the fire.

“At the same time, I am not saying that we are going to be reckless. We are going to make sure that if there is a demand for a commodity, once we can do it, we are prepared to go out there and do it,” said Paul.

He also suggested that the recent shortage should serve as a wake-up call to individuals to invest in the egg and poultry industry, which he said might be in need  of restructuring in order to better mitigate any likely impact in the future.

Since late last year the island has been experiencing a shortage of eggs, leading to an importation of approximately 960 cases in December.

Last month an investigation was launched into the recent shortage of eggs in order to avoid a recurrence.

Paul told journalists that there were a number of contributing factors, agreeing that a recent spate of bird flu as well as unfavourable weather conditions in the United States and other parts of the world may have contributed to the shortfall.

Paul also explained that local hatcheries were caught “wrong-footed” because it moved from a situation where they were able to get the eggs within a month of placing their orders to six months in some cases.

“What it shows is that we also did not anticipate the impact that the cruise sector and the excellent arrivals we have now would have had, and the truth is that we had to supply the ships coming here and those home porting in some cases and we have to supply hotels,”  said Paul who believes there are opportunities for investment, especially by young people, in the egg and poultry industry.

He said stakeholders were also looking into the possibility of setting up a breeder farm to cushion the impact of the fluctuation in hatching egg supplies in the future.

Speaking to journalists at Queen’s Park on the sidelines of a meeting with sponsors for the upcoming Agrofest showcase, the buy local advocate also dismissed a recent Jamaica Gleaner newspaper story which said that Barbados had requested eggs from that Caribbean state, saying the report was “presumptuous at best”.

While not denying that contact had been  made with producers there, the BAS head said it was just an initial inquiry and not an order, adding that similar enquires were made in Trinidad and Tobago.

“There was never any agreement to purchase. There was never any quotation asked or anything like that,” said Paul, adding that he knew Jamaica would have found it “extremely difficult” to supply the Barbados market.

4 Responses to BAS head issues stern warning to egg importers

  1. Tony Webster February 18, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Mr. Paul, I support agriculture, in all its facets. But have you ever heard the maxim, “speak softly, but carry a big stick”?
    Could you perhaps have a soft word, with your front bench colleague, and get the funds needed to start our sugar crop? Like last year? Or even, last- month?
    How about using your connections, to get our police to do a cupple “Sting” arrests/convictions, under praedial-larceny laws?
    While at it, how about a soft word, in the ear of your friend, the A.G., to amend our said P.L. Laws, and provide for real penalties, wid real teeth, to put a real bite into the thieves back-sides?
    Effin the soft-words don’t have any effect, use the big-stick. We tired of the “big-talk”

  2. arther lashley February 18, 2015 at 8:57 am

    OH DEAR !!
    Mr Paul.
    Same SH***E , Different day.

    Why yuh doan g’long and put up yuh foot
    Res yuh brain man.

  3. Carl Harper February 18, 2015 at 11:31 am

    What James Paul is saying is that his BAS, egg producers and onion farmers are all inefficient.

  4. Patrick Blackman February 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t get this, every year there is shortage, please do an economic and projected demand analyses of each agri-sector then we would not have this Sh… every year.


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