Chicken is a staple in the diet of most Belizeans. As such, it was a major concern when various suppliers of chicken closed their doors early due to a lack of poultry products. At first, the speculation was that the country was facing another chicken shortage. According to one supplier, though, this is not the case. The General Manager of Quality Poultry, Raymond Barkman, stated that there could be various causes to the empty shelves, but the root issue is simply that the demand has increased.
Raymond Barkma, General Manager, Quality Poultry: “There’s definitely some panic buying and there’s just a lot of people just wanting to buy chicken I almost don’t know what to say but of course we don’t use the word “chicken shortage” around here we call it “post COVID adjustment”. This is still part of still trying to get used to that new crazy normal thing that people call the new normal which whatever it is.”
Reporter: Are you trying to increase your supply to meet this demand?
Raymond Barkma, General Manager, Quality Poultry: “Yes ma’am we are absolutely trying to do that and we have been doing that for a while but as you know the chicken process is a nine week process so I can only judge whatever decision I make today comes in effect nine weeks from now. So we have been doing this since post COVID I was guessing what the next few weeks sales will be and so forth and we have an increase. It’s a good feeling to put it mildly that we can keep on increasing and increasing, at this point we’re still not there where we want to be but definitely this is something we have been doing weekly since when COVID was over and the country started opening up and yes we’re doing it as we speak. This as you know is very surprising this has never happened in Belize before there is not anybody that will remember this problem where we don’t have enough chicken to supply you with whatever you want in fact usually we’re just fighting to get into your face and so this is a problem that’s once in a lifetime and yes of course there’s lots of complaints we just try to do our best and ask the public to stick with us. It will get better very soon and you won’t have to worry about limiting because I know that everyone wants chicken. It is so good I don’t blame them.”
We attempted to contact the President of the Poultry Association, Armando Cowo, but our calls went unanswered.