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Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up #543414
07/09/20 04:18 AM
07/09/20 04:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,225
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Chicken, in most households, it's what's for dinner, or at least for lunch. Indeed Belize is one of the top consumers of chicken meat in the Western hemisphere.

And that's why it's of concern that chicken could be getting scarce and the price per pound going up.

The last time we reported on chicken prices, they were way, way down. That was at the start of the COVID quarantine, when the chicken companies were literally giving it way. But, now that consumption patterns are returning to normal, prices could be going up, due to scarcity.

It's based on projections - what might be called chicken futures and I found out more from the Manager of the Belize Poultry Association who I spoke with via Zoom:



According to the Belize Poultry Association, each Belizean eats approximately 109 pounds of chicken meat annually.

Channel 7

Re: Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up [Re: Marty] #543432
07/10/20 04:56 AM
07/10/20 04:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,225
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Chicken shortage for the next two weeks

The Guardian Newspaper visited several fresh chicken outlets in Belize City and found that most of their freezers are empty. There is simply no chicken available for sale. We sought to investigate and found out that there is actually a shortage of the cheap source of protein.

Amado Cowo, Manager of the Belize Poultry Association confirmed that over the next two weeks, there will be shortages in what are considered specialty cuts like legs, wings, breasts and the like. He explained however that there is currently some 460 thousand pounds of whole chicken in reserves, enough to suffice the market for the next two to three weeks. The shortage will come for the specialty cuts and this is causing outlets to be rationing the purchase of chicken.

Cowo explains that there are entities that are able to purchase large amounts of chicken and store it and if that is allowed to take place, the consumer that purchases small amounts would not be able to have access. The retailers then are now actively only selling small amounts of chicken to customers.

And what has caused the shortfall? Cowo told The Guardian that it is as a result of COVID-19. In mid-April, poultry producers were forced to sell chicken at discounted prices. At the time they had produced the meat to supply normal economic activity but with the shutdown caused by the pandemic they were left with an oversupply, which forced them to sell cheap. Cowo said that a reaction to the pandemic was also to depopulate the birds, meaning that they killed off and sold off live chickens, which would be the egg layers to produce meat. He added that this was done in order to not to incur great losses as the projected demand under the period of lock down was severely reduced. He stated that this was done because producers simply did not know how long it would take for the economy to normalize.

While a shortage in chicken is of concern, Cowo stated that the producers will do their best to meet demands. He added that chicken production runs in cycles of six weeks. Within that time all chicken products are expected to be back to normal supply.

The Guardian

Re: Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up [Re: Marty] #543446
07/10/20 10:27 AM
07/10/20 10:27 AM
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,913
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye...
Amanda Syme Offline

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Amanda Syme  Offline
I was so disappointed to not be able to find chicken wings last weekend.

Re: Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up [Re: Marty] #544114
08/11/20 04:45 AM
08/11/20 04:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,225
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

High demand for chicken causing empty shelves

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.

LoveFM


Re: Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up [Re: Marty] #544134
08/12/20 04:18 AM
08/12/20 04:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,225
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Chicken Run...Out?

Chicken was scarce over the weekend - interrupting many - a - Sunday - dinner menu.

It's a shortage that's been coming on for weeks now starting with scarcity of chicken parts. But it finally hit grocery stores nationwide in the last few days. This morning we found out the good news and the bad for poultry futures. Cherisse Halsall reports.

It's here! a dreaded Chicken shortage threatening 5 dollar plates and Sunday dinners everywhere. And with many spending the weekend clamoring at their grocer for the all essential national meat only to find empty coolers and scanty crates.

Armando Cowo, Manager, Belize Poultry Association
"The question is do we have a shortage? Yes. Do we have a shortage, no. And that might sound contradictory and confusing but the reality is no because we have placed 1.1. billion birds in the barn that are being harvested currently for the month of August. Yes because currently the shelves are empty, the freezers are empty and we ourselves in the industry are trying to understand this phenomenon. We think it's a bubble in the sense that ok people are not traveling, no one is going across the border to Chetumal no one is going across the border to Melchor so all that money is staying at home and it seems that the people have decided to invest that money in the consumption of chicken."

"Our managers our store managers are telling us that as soon as the chicken lands everyone is just lining up to go with them so obviously the demand is up there's a huge demand and like I said we have not been able to ascertain fair enough what percentage the tourism accounted for our sales but from what we're currently seeing, even if you forget about tourism, what we're seeing is a phenomenon that we have not seen before where the Belizean consumer now consuming a lot more chicken."

And they're consuming it from stores like Sai Bodega, where empty freezers are causing nerves to flare

Omprakash Alex, Owner, Sai Bodega
"Actually we have customers for chicken here. We can't get chicken for the past two or three weeks in container, you know, poor service and customers rail up. No chicken and they just pray that it comes out. I got chicken yesterday about 5 crate and in like half an hour I sold out. That's the problem we have."

It's a bit better over at 3 star chicken where poultry is the main product on offer but even they've been having a tough time.

Dexter Neal, Manager, 3 Star Chicken
"Some people could not believe that it had come to this, no. But I think it's a phase when we'll get out of that phase I can't say for sure. The problem is that it creates some real long lines when the truck does come in with product no and which can get a little hectic sometimes. We have to make sure we enforce the social distance and you know when people are wanting for a product that they believe or perceive is scarce they really can act up and it can create some issues. We might make sure we have adequate security to deal with any issue that might flare up when that happens."

And in an effort to avoid chicken riots the industry is scaling production back up.

Armando Cowo, Manager, Belize Poultry Association
"We have kind of missed the target with the consumer because we, there are several effects to the decisions that people make. The economy was opened back up and people went back to work. We weren't sure if people were going to spend more money on consumer goods or they were going to put up the money for another slam from COVID-19."

"We are increasing as we speak, we are increasing production and hopefully we will be able to meet the target for the Belizean consumer with the demand but as soon as that demand slackens we will then slacken production but hopefully we get some warning signs from the market before we go and incur more losses."

"One of the first signs would be the freezers in the shops not emptying at the rate we're seeing them getting empty now."

Quarantined Shipyard Village is Poultry Producer

And one reason for the shortage could be the fact that a major producing community, Shipyard, is under quarantine and effectively cut off from the rest of the country.

It's a reality that makes the export of the farming community's produce difficult if not impossible, and only adds to the scarcity of poultry nationwide. We got some more details from Poultry Association Manager Armando Cowo.:

Armando Cowo, Manager, Belize Poultry Association
"Remember that one of our producing communities is under lockdown, Shipyard, but notwithstanding that we're still trying very hard to get their produce out to the market. So we are still having that produce triple out. We are doing that. So it's not like they are under zero production there or zero product is coming out. We are still getting out the products, but it's not the normal flow. Before the lockdown their trucks could have moved freely at any time of the night. If they wanted to leave at midnight to be in Belize City at 7 in the morning they would do that. Right now they cannot. So again, the timing of the product reaching the market from that particular community might have an impact. We really don't know the size of impact it might have, but it's just one community."

Cutbacks that led to chicken shortages were effected in early March due to heavy industry-wide losses north of 10 million dollars.

Channel 7


Re: Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up [Re: Marty] #544143
08/12/20 05:05 AM
08/12/20 05:05 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,225
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Chicken Shortage Phenomenon Baffles Association

The Belize Poultry Association is also seeking answers to explain the chicken shortage. Manager, Armando Cowo says that for July more than one million birds were placed in the barns for processing. This was an increase of more than a hundred thousand when compared with June. Cowo says that this should have met the demand of the consumers but as we are seeing today, it was not enough to satisfy the market.

On the Phone: Armando Cowo, Manager, Belize Poultry Association


“Currently there seems to be shortage but it is not a shortage in the terms of production. We are currently at ninety two percent pre-COVID-19 level productions. We are almost at a hundred percent. Of the four million pounds of chicken that Belizeans consume per month pre COVID or the level of consumption wax low which again is unacceptable. So ourselves are kind of baffled over the whole issue but we can just put out theory. We believe that the millions of millions of dollars going over the borders both to Melchor and Chetumal has an impact. People are no longer going over so therefore they stay at home and eating more chicken. For July we put in one point one million dollars birds into the barns, an increase of a hundred thousand birds as previous months and we still have the same situation, not enough chicken in the freezers. Where is the chicken going? Who is consuming it, is a phenomenon for us as well. We don’t have the answer.”

Channel 5

Re: Chicken Scarce, Prices Going Up [Re: Marty] #544173
Yesterday at 05:16 AM
Yesterday at 05:16 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 68,225
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Minister of Food and Agriculture comments on chicken phenomena

We have been reporting on the concerns of residents that there is a low supply of chicken in the country. As we have heard from the Poultry Association, there is no shortage, just a demand that is higher than they expected. They are already working on fixing the issue, and the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Godwin Hulse, stated that the chicken suppliers in the country have enough experience to remedy the situation.

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture: “This ministry has taken the view that these are private sector businesses. We have moved away from the fact of subsistence farming and that sort of thing and try to lift the farmers up into an arena where they are business persons and so there’s a demand supply pressure on every market that is the business formula and these people have been in business long enough so they know how to manage this- Caribbean Chicken and Quality Poultry have been in business long enough they know how to manage this. There was a glut because of course the tourism trade evaporated over night – bam- there was no tourist coming as simple as that it didn’t decline it just stopped and then of course there was also export of spent hens into Guatemala they were doing that on a consistent basis as well that also went the route of the informal trade that also stopped so that created a glut on the market. You know what that does the chickens at the same time are growing and growing and so they do reach an age as I understand it where they become old hens they don’t stop growing because we couldn’t sell them. And so they had to balance all of that out to be able to manage the market. The argument that in fact those chickens could have been thrown on the domestic market would have meant that there would been a large over supply and the plants would have had to perhaps close until that reduces and open up back again and that is not a formula, that is in fact a formula for disaster.”

LoveFM


Poultry Association Finds Reason for Chicken Shortage

This week we have been reporting on the scarcity of chicken that is affecting Belizeans from north to south. The Belize Poultry Association has now identified a reason for the sudden shortage in chicken. While producers have ramped up production, demand has been greater than supply causing freezers to go empty. According to the Association producers began increasing production in June and July and it is now returning to pre-COVID levels. It says that poultry production usually spans a nine-week period from egg to processed chicken so balancing supply with demand is not a precise undertaking, especially when unprecedented market disruption occurs. Manager Armando Cowo explains that the abrupt fall in demand from tourism and then an unexpected sharp rise in domestic consumer demand have created the market disruption over the last few weeks. He says that the unexpected sharp rise in domestic demand is due to several factors but primarily due to the closure of the northern border translating to more domestic consumption.

On the Phone: Armando Cowo, Manager, Belize Poultry Association

“We believe that the millions of millions going over the border both to Melchor and Chetumal has an impact. People are no longer going over so therefore they stay at home and they are eating more chicken. Because remember when you go across the border you buy food but now that they stay at home, they can’t go to Chetumal they can’t go to Melchor, they are buying more food. It might just be a bubble because of the situation we are currently in. People themselves instead of buying chicken they are buying two or three and putting in their freezer. We don’t know if that has happened but we know for a fact that production has increased so like I said it might be a situation due to the lockdown where people done have their monies to spend elsewhere so they decide that they will do a little barbecue and they consume more. Hopefully it is just that, that more people are consuming it.”

Channel 5



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