Too fast

Chicken Barn jumped the gun in criticising the industry

Stakeholders in the agricultural sector are threatening to protest any move by Government to sanction the importation of eggs and poultry.

The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) today said it was on high alert following claims of a shortage of the products.

But speaking at a Press conference this afternoon, chief executive officer of the BAS James Paul dismissed the reports and warned that his organization would not stand by and allow the items to be brought in when the industry was quite capable of meeting the demand.

He pointed to the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed several months ago with hoteliers and manufacturers to, among other things, establish a committee to assess the needs of the market.

He did acknowledge, however, that some suppliers had shortages, but stressed that other players were able to meet the demand over the Christmas period.

While 960 cases of eggs were brought in to help deal with the problem, the BAS boss was adamant that this should not be used as an excuse to bring in products “willy-nilly”.

James Paul
James Paul

“The BAS will stand stoutly against such initiatives. We have agreed already on a format if such importation is to be done. I also want to go back to the MOU. Under the MOU there was supposed to be established some kind of committee that will review the request on the part of hoteliers. We intend to contact the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association to review what their likely requirements for produce during [next] year will be and the industry is preparing to be able to provide those requirements,” he said.

The CEO said the BAS would do nothing to compromise the industry, even as he chastised members of the hospitality industry for going to the media about the shortage of chicken at fast food restaurant, Chicken Barn.

Reports indicate that the restaurant was supplied with poultry yesterday.

But Paul said the situation demonstrated a lack of planning by some sectors and urged more dialogue among interest groups.

“I think it was unfortunate, however, that an attempt was made to go to the newspaper even prior to the industry being contacted. If we are to really coexist properly within the country we would want all players, before rushing to the Press to complain, to have some level of collaboration between the various agencies to see what exactly is taking place,” he said.

James went on to warn: “No irresponsible action should be taken to satisfy wildcat claims . . . when in truth and in fact they did not appropriately notify the industry that there was going to be a problem when they did not notify the industry that this was going to be a problem.”

“One of the things that the industry would be looking to introduce is a product forecasting system . . . to do some forecasting of the availability of certain products. Once we can get that system in place, we can forecast the availability of the products during the year. At the same time, we expect the purchasers of agricultural products in this country to provide this industry with their forecast purchasing requirements.”

Carlyle Brathwaite, who is president of both the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA) and the Barbados Agricultural Society also denied a shortage of chicken.

He also denied that the industry was to be blamed for the situation that occurred.

BAS and BEPPA president Carlyle Brathwaite.
BAS and BEPPA president Carlyle Brathwaite.

Speaking specifically about the Chicken Barn situation, he said: “We assured the restaurant that they would have had the necessary product Monday morning because . . . we wanted to get them to the correct size that they wanted . . . To do that would have taken a few more days. They did not wait on us. Nobody contacted me as president of the BAS or president of the Egg and Poultry Association. Yet, we heard through the news. This isn’t the way that we do business,” he said in agitation.

“Chicken Barn has more than one processor . . . The main producer produced 10 per cent more chicken this year than last year for the same period. But it wasn’t them that had the problem; it was a few small processors that were unable to come up to mark because their chickens were a bit small and those were the ones that let them down. Yet, they said the industry let them down but we . . . did nothing wrong.”

Brathwaite surmised that the higher than normal demand for eggs was driven by an increase in the number of people purchasing cakes and pastries.

He said hoarding might also have been an issue.


4 Responses to Too fast

  1. Raymond Lorde
    Raymond Lorde December 30, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I cannot get this issue understood. If you had to import eggs was there not a shortage ? Who actually imported the eggs?

  2. Tony Webster December 31, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Less talk; more action. Sorry…eggs.

  3. Patrick Blackman December 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Carl, I agree with your points and would like to add that what is also required is a clear Agriculture policy by the government. During election time these guys get up and talk about all manner of foolishness but no party clearly present their policies on education, manufacturing, health care etc. We need to demand this from these morons if this crap is to stop.

  4. Ms. Bemused December 31, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    These people make me laugh. Really??? Mr. Brathwaite, didn’t you also say that egg producers are now selling alot of their eggs to cruise ships, of which I have no problem with, make that money….but, what about local consumption especially at peak season when the demand is highest. You sir and Mr. Paul need to take several seats now, because if it is left up to the two of you with your hiding up and denials, and trying to hold consumers at ransom, we in Barbados would be eating bear canned and packaged food and the small businesses like mine that depend on local produce and meats for business to function would close down, and don’t get me started about pricing. Good thing I close for business for the holidays, otherwise I would be like Chicken Barn too.


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