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Poultry Prices Going Up

By the end of this week consumers will be paying an estimated nine cents more for a pound of chicken. Manager of the Belize Poultry Association, Armando Cowo, confirmed the price increase today, saying that the new prices will be reflected on whole chicken, special chicken and chicken parts. The increase is attributed to the global fuel price increase which has driven up the cost of operations for poultry producers.

Armando Cowo, Manager of the Belize Poultry Association: “Unfortunately we have come to that juncture where we need to review the prices of the products and each individual company is looking after it and they will be putting out their prices. Some of them I think have already done so. We had agreed that this week we were going to review the prices. Unfortunately it has come to this. There’s only so much blows that the industry can take. We need to look at this in the historical light of what is happening to us in the context of the overall global economic affairs. We are not an island and there has been an impact on the industry from every single quarter that you can think of. I think the world cannot run away from the fact that it is a petroleum based world. Even the things that we don’t think run on petroleum because it’s behind the product, we don’t see it. We don’t really associate it with the petroleum world but the reality is that everything has gone up and I’m not talking about fuel prices here because everyone knows that’s a given but that has impacted everything – the price of fertilisers that the farmers use to grow their corn, rice, and beans; plastics because plastics is a byproduct of the petroleum industry. The modern world is the modern world because of plastics. We cannot refute that, the science is there. Every pound of meat that is sold in this world, freshly chilled or chilled uses plastics and likewise we do, our chickens are sold in plastic bags and in foam trays with plastic coverings and the price of all of that has gone up because these are all byproducts of the petroleum industry. Personally I am calculating an average of .9 cents per pound on regular chicken. That’s an average, that’s not the – some companies might maybe do .8 cents/ 7 cents, I don’t know, some might do 10/11. But I’m guessing around 9 cents because you know each company has their own records. They have their own cost of production. They have all these numbers that I don’t have, they have it. So I am just, my estimate no? This is where we are going with the prices. Well we knew there would be an increase. We cannot run away from that and I will ask the Belizean consumer to be cognizant of that fact and that we are not doing it because we want to take advantage of the current situation. We are not doing it for any other reason than for us to stay afloat because if we don’t do it we would not stay afloat. We would not have this industry being compromised because of the current world economic situation.”

According to Cowo, the rise in the price of poultry should not have an effect on the prices of food being sold by restaurants and vendors. He says that the increase is very minimal and is implemented only to keep poultry producers stay afloat, therefore it should not have a ripple effect on consumers.

Armando Cowo, Manager of the Belize Poultry Association: “The reason why we are on the public airwaves discussing this issue is because we want the end consumer to know that even though the prices that are coming on a slight increase of cents, that should not translate into the marketplace for a dollar increase and I’m saying this because the last time we raised our prices, a lot of people were calling me and saying hey you know the guy at the corner selling barbecue, he stopped selling it for $6. Now he is selling it for $7. We added, at that time, we added .6 cents a pound. How much ounces of meat do you get in a BBQ? You get what? Even if you get 2lbs, that’s .12c more so for him to be charging you a dollar, well I don’t know what his other costs are but my message is please do not use chicken to justify whatever increase you might want to pass on to the consumer. Don’t change the price of your rice and beans because the price of chicken went up because hey, how many ounces of chicken do you get on your plate of rice and beans? You don’t get a pound. You don’t even get the .8c on your plate of rice and beans. So why should they charge you maybe $1 more? I mean we need to be careful of how we justify the raises of whatever product the consumer is going to receive and I’m asking the services industry that if they want to increase, let them go on the airwaves and justify their increases the same way we are doing it. Don’t use uss. Don’t say oh because the price of chicken went up, I’m doing this. You know, that’s not what we want. We want to be honest with the consumer and let them know that hey, it’s coming. We really can’t do anything about it. We want you to understand us and bear with us until we get over this together and then we will review the price structure and see where we go with it after that but for now, this is the current situation.”

Love News understands that an official release along with the new prices will be released by Friday.