By Jared Liddell
THE Guyana Poultry Producers Association is optimistic that the current chicken shortage will soon come to an end.
The Association says that based upon the hatching and growth period of chickens, the country is on track to seeing the regularisation of chicken production by mid-August.
It said Tuesday in a press statement that because Suriname’s import duty on chicken was at one time only five per cent, large quantities of chicken were being smuggled into Guyana after being legally imported into Suriname from America and Brazil.
This smuggling, the organisation said, is what contributed to a surplus of chicken on the local market, since the local poultry producers, unable to estimate the amount of smuggled chicken entering the country, continued producing as per normal.
According to the Association, many of the rearers, upon learning of the smuggling, decided to cut back on their production out of fear that if trends continued, their chicken were going to exceed their expected lifespan.
The chicken glut lasted from the end of May 2018 to March 2019. But in June 2019, the Suriname authorities increased their duty on imported chicken from five per cent to 40 per cent, which negatively affected the chicken smuggling business.
Proprietor of Padrak Poultry and Plucking Centre, Ricky Sawh, when asked for an update on the chicken rearing business, told the Guyana Chronicle that besides rearing his own chicken, he also outsources from a few other farms. He, however, said that of late, he along with several other chicken rearers have begun to resume producing at a close to normal rate.
As he went on to explain, not all of the farms have been producing, since they would have noticed that the hatchlings have not been growing to their expected size.
The estimated weight for a chicken at six weeks is around five pounds, but those currently being reared only weigh about three pounds and a little over.
Chicken producer and proprietor of D. Arjune and Sons just Tuesday transported over a 1000 chickens to his farm, and he spoke on the situation, stating that from the current trends, chicken production is well on the way to returning to normalcy by the end of August.
Asked about size, he explained that growth rate is largely affected by weather patterns, and that the excessive heat we in Guyana have been experiencing of late has been a major contributing factor to the chickens not growing to their expected sizes. But he is not bothered by this; he is positive that once the heat level reduces, the chickens will grow at its normal rate.