Despite a significant increase in the cost of eggs globally, local poultry producers have been able to control prices to a reasonable level and keep up with demand, says Stephen Layne, President of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA).
“We have done an excellent job in controlling the cost of eggs, our largest producers have been very skilful in keeping their flocks at a good number. The cost of a table egg in Barbados is about half of some locations in the UK and US and Europe,” he said.
Layne praised the poultry producers, noting that the unlike what is happening globally, the cost of eggs has not been fluctuating even though it’s gotten more expensive to feed chickens.
In the US, egg prices shot up a massive 49.1%, due to a supply shortage caused by the deadly avian flu, commonly called bird flu, coupled with high demand, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Layne also noted that they have been bio-security measures in place to mitigate against the challenges which could be posed by the avian flu and so Barbados did not experience the shortage which was seen overseas.
He also noted that if everything goes according to plan, they will continue to have eggs to meet demand this year.
“We have been very good managers here, especially at Chickmont, in providing security ensuring that the country was adequately supplied over the holidays, Christmas, and for Easter coming up is looking very good. We also have hundreds of smaller producers who have chipped in and helped meet that demand,” he disclosed.
Last December, Layne said there were more than three million eggs on the market during the Yuletide season, in spite of heavy losses caused by summer heat. At that time, there was a 25 per cent mortality rate as farmers struggling with rising temperatures
Farmers were also trying to increase the number of layers after the numbers had fallen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 6 000 people are directly or indirectly employed in poultry production. While the majority are farmers, others are also making a living in transport, accounting, technology, ancillary services like processing plants and veterinary resources. (AL)