THE Government of Saint Lucia has announced that it delayed, by six weeks, the implementation of a planned increase requirement for chicken importers, to allow for further consultation.
Agriculture Minister Moses Jn Baptiste said the new requirement aims to promote local food security and allow local producers to reap increased benefits from the market.
During his contribution to the budget debate, Minister Jn Baptiste said Saint Lucia has been importing “non-premium” chicken products since 2008.
“Is that what we are worth?” he questioned.
Imported chicken is cheaper than locally produced chicken because local producers have to spend more to rear chicken locally. However, local poultry products do not sell as fast as imported chicken due to its cheaper price.
Local producers have welcomed the government’s intended move, as it will help give them a fairer share of the local market, but chicken importers oppose the requirement increase and argue that it will push the price of chicken upwards.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Darius Gabriel, announced last week that the measure had been postponed for six weeks, to allow for hearing the importers’ concerns. Government hopes that the six-week window will be used to arrive at a consensus.