Even after one month, the recent chicken shortage which was expected to have normalised by mid-September continues to be an issue of concern for the public as the prices remain the same in most parts of the country, while some vendors have lowered their prices by $20.
The fluctuating prices are said to have taken a drastic toll on local chicken vendors, as the demand has lessened as a result of the prohibitive cost.
Kaieteur News understands that the continued low production has been due to poor hatchability since the eggs had been transported by ocean-freight as opposed to its usual aircraft.
Guyana’s largest chicken importers ‘Bounty Meat Centre’ have noted that despite the price fluctuation, the company has still been selling its meat at the regular price and as usual, they have also been supplying vendors across the country with the product.
It was revealed that in December 2010, due to seasonal demand, the production of chicken increased and as a result of the fallen demand in January-February 2011, there was a surplus being produced for the local market, that is, 3.51 million kilograms in January. Due to excessive production at the time, the price of chicken in the urban markets was as low as $285 per pound (0.45 kg), and this had caused farmers to cease production.
In February, poultry production in Guyana had fallen to 2.36 million kilograms and then further to 1.34 million kilograms in March, when the price of chicken rose to $320 per pound. However, by April, hatcheries had reverted to importing hatching eggs by air which had led to increased hatchability and a greater supply of broiler eggs being available to farmers, causing prices to fall to $300 per pound and production to increase to 1.84 million kilograms.
However, production fell again in May to 1.65 million kilograms and had remained at 1.56 million kilograms for June and July.
In June the average price of chicken was $303 per pound and rose to $346 per pound in July, still lower than the $405 that was being paid during the same period last year.
The shortfall in production was in some ways attributed to the steady increase in the price of layer feed, due to ethanol diversion of US maize to bio-fuels and increased demand from China, India and some other nations as a result of a hen disease.
In September, the price of chicken ranged from $280 to $300 per pound, and this has fallen so far this month to approximately $260.
Prices for live chicken have also fallen to $180 per pound and are likely to fall by another $10 as the supply increases over the next few weeks.
A report from the Ministry of Agriculture suggested that the shortage may very well normalize by Christmas.
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