President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, Lenworth Fulton says a decision to temporarily suspend the import and stamp duties levied on leg quarters could be detrimental for small poultry farmers.
He was reacting to an announcement by Agriculture Minister Pearnel Charles Jr. That the measure is being considered as a buffer to the 10 percent increase in chicken prices, announced by Jamaica Broilers.
Mr. Charles explained that challenges including increased costs for transportation, grains and feed have given rise to unprecedented increases in prices locally for animal protein, especially poultry products.
The Agriculture Minister said the price of locally produced chicken meat has increased by approximately 17 per cent over the last 12 months, moving from an average of $530 per kilogramme to just under $620 per kilogramme.
Speaking in an interview with Irie FM News, the Agriculture Society President said while he credits the minister for taking action, he hopes that the final decision won’t be to fully remove duties, but rather to test the waters by partially reducing duties.
Mr. Fulton noted that the 50 million dollar assistance offered by the government is welcome, but more needs to be done for small poultry farmers in the long term.