Cut in Chicken prices
Poultry farmers, Jamaica Broilers, has announced a decrease in prices of Best Dressed Chicken. The company reduced the cost of its Grade-A whole bird and mixed parts by $12.50 per kilo, as of Thursday 18 August.
The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr., hopes this action will be followed by other poultry producers. According to the minister, the price cut has come at a time when consumers need it the most.
“This is a time when we have seen the adverse impact of increasing prices globally, and Jamaica has not been spared. Between COVID-19 and the conflict in Europe (Russia and Ukraine), we have seen skyrocketing prices and so anything that gives our consumers some relief is welcome,” he said in a media release.
In January, the cost of chicken per pound ranged from $180 to $290. According to the Vice President of Jamaica Broilers, Dave Fairman, price adjustments were necessary as the cost for production and raw material had increased resulting in the price of chicken meat going up by 10 per cent in January. “From January to December, last year, our energy costs went up somewhere in the region of about 61 per cent. So, all of these combined, roll up into higher costs for us. Our margins are down because, you know, like any good corporate citizen, we have been trying to manage what we pass on to consumers ’cause we live here and we understand the dynamics that are playing out in the society. So, we have been absorbing quite a bit of those increases,” he explained.
Jamaica Broilers holds more than half the local market share, with Caribbean Broilers and imported chicken accounting for the remainder.
The COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Ukraine-Russia war, had negatively affected global shipping, resulting in delays and increased prices. The war has also affected global grain distribution. Ukraine and Russia account for a third of global wheat and barley exports.
Mr Fairman said the increase was also driven by movements in the prices of other commodities. “Corn has moved, somewhere in the region of about 106 per cent from its lowest point in 2020, to close in 2021. Soya Bean, which is another key ingredient, has gone up about 61 per cent from a low in 2020 to 2021. So, if you were to look at our 2020 price movements, it’s averaging about 7 per cent in 2020, so really keeping track with where inflation was at the time in 2021. Our point to point from January back to December is about 28 per cent.” Fairman said. But, the recent stability of the global market facilitated the current price reduction which is welcomed across the sector.
“We also look forward to the domino effect that this reduction will have on other products and, ultimately, to the benefit of our consumers,” said Charles Jnr.