Members of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA) met on Saturday, January 07 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) to decide on how they will move forward with the social compact instituted by government last year and which concludes at the end of January.
The compact was agreed to by mainly large poultry producers and indicated that from August 19, 2022 to January 31, 2023 poultry products would be sold at 10% or less. It was to be a cushion for consumers facing increased cost of living, but it has crippled the local poultry industry. Some small farmers were forced to shut down and one of the largest hatcheries on the island had to euthanise an estimated 5 000 birds. President of BEPPA, Stephen Layne said that farmers cannot afford the exercise.
The small poultry producers at the BEPPA meeting were upset and said they were not sufficiently consulted and no consideration was given to how they would be affected by the agreement. Small farmers represent about 40% of local poultry producers and those present told BEPPA President Stephen Layne that they will not participate in the compact.
BEPPA members maintained that small farmers need to have a seat at the table when any decisions are going to be made affecting them. “I think the cost of poultry should reflect the cost of the production of that poultry,” President Layne said. Members present agreed and insisted that larger producers cannot speak for them.