- Ministry to collaborate with Regional Authorities to address smuggling of chicken from Suriname
Members of the Guyana Poultry Association today met with Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, where a number of issues were addressed.
During the virtual meeting, President of the Association, Patrick DeGroot, stated that the current global pandemic has had a devastating impact on the industry.
“With regards to Covid-19, the pandemic has made things very difficult for the industry this year. On March 11th, when the first person died and the country was put on lock down, we saw an almost 60% reduction in the demand for chicken and that put a severe burden on the producers. A lot of small farmers who had no alterative option for storage of the finished product and had to keep the birds on the ground for as long as 14 weeks. I think a lot of farmers who had bills to pay at the banks and IPED were really affected. The pandemic also affected the laying industry. As a result, the industry had to cut production significantly, as much as 50%,” Mr. DeGroot said.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha stated that the issues raised can be resolved through collaborations between the Ministry and the Association.
“I know that the pandemic has not only affected the poultry association, but the entire industry and economy. Apart from that, over the years, the economy has been contracting steadily due to some of the harsh measures that were put in place by the previous administration. That is why, with the last budget, Government has ensured that we reverse some of those measures so that those burdens can be eased. I think we can work together and rest assured that better is in store for the association and the sector. Critical industries are reopening so sectors like the poultry production sector will once again be able to increase their production. The health of the population remains a top priority for Government, but we have to ensure that the productive sectors are able to operate,” Minister Mustapha said.
Another member of the Association, Andrew King stated that the association was pleased with the incentives put in place for commodities such as corn, adding that those sectors will be pursued in the future.
Another issues raised was that of the smuggling of chicken from Suriname.
The subject Minister stated that in the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in such activities.
“I am optimistic that we can deal with this issue. I’ve be having discussions with the Guyana Revenue Authority shortly, and I will also engage the new Commander in Berbice. I am confident that he will be able to increase the security in that area, especially the ‘back-track’ route used to smuggle these items. Hopefully we can minimize it and, eventually, stop it,” Minister said.
Minister also disclosed that he will be writing the Association shortly to have representatives sit on the Board of Directors for the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA). This, he added, will assist with the crafting of decisions and policies of the Board.