Back in August, we told you about the week-long forced shut-down of Caribbean Chicken due to the death of a COVID positive member of staff.

It was a shut-down that - coupled with a nationwide chicken shortage - threatened the entire poultry industry and forced competitor Quality Poultry to pick up the slack.

Today General manager Raymond Barkman was happy to announce the end of the chicken shortage as well as some much-needed celebratory sales. He spoke to Cherisse Halsall via zoom and explained why his company wasn't crushed under the chicken demand.

Raymond Barkman - Quality Poultry

"We like a month ago maybe or something and then we were in the middle of a chicken shortage and as of today there's a relief that the chicken shortage is over and in fact so much so that we're actually giving back again to celebrate the 39th Birthday of Belize so that is where we are."

Cherisse Halsall

"Take me back a little bit to when your main competitor had to shut down due to COVID what did you guys have to do the kick in to pick up the slack of them being completely shut down?"

Raymond Barkman

"Well, and again that was really thought, I don't wish any company to have to go through that ever and that was the time when we were getting there with the chicken so we were able to help out so much at least so that I don't think anyone noticed any shortage during that week, at least not an emergency and also bearing in mind that now that the restaurants are still shut down and whatever there is still a decrease in sales so with the restaurants being shut down you didn't feel the shortage as quick with the competitor being shut down, you know there just wasn't that much activity with everything open and running and so forth. There were a lot of people saying that we were using it to hike up the price and that sort of stuff and so I do want to say this that quality poultry, meaning my company here has not gone up with any price changes. As I mentioned before we're with all of you hope you'll be with all of us for this tough times, so we did not raise any prices during this time and not plan to in the future. So I just want to clarify that nothing like that happened with our company."

"As you know the last time we talked we were in a shortage and as I previously mentioned we live on 9 weeks in advance schedule so with COVID this opening-closing ---opening it back up again shutting down the restaurant this is just something that's a nightmare for a processing company like ours where we have to do estimates or guesstimates and so forth 9 weeks in advance so it's just really hard to juggle the opening and closing and especially as I already mentioned the restaurants but we have ---through it and I feel very confident to say that as you know we hadn't had a chicken shortage in 50 years but now we did and I think we're back on track to that same path unless of course there's another pandemic which I don't guarantee chicken shortages anymore for pandemics but other than that I feel pretty safe about it."

And to celebrate Belize's 39th independence anniversary, Quality Poultry has promotional sales.

Channel 7

Chicken Shortage Over!

Chickens are back in the freezer. General Manager for Quality Poultry Products Raymond Barkman says that the chicken shortage is over. During the months of July and August, consumers were reporting a scarcity of chicken.  The Belize Poultry Association and poultry producers scratched their heads, trying to determine the reason for the shortage since production had actually increased in the months of June and July.  It was later explained that the abrupt fall in demand from tourism and then an unexpectedly sharp rise in domestic consumer demand had created the market disruption during those months. But Barkman is saying that consumers do not have to worry anymore because the supply of poultry products has normalized. 

Raymond Barkman, General Manager, Quality Poultry Products

“I know that last month there was roughly five hundred and fifty thousand birds put in for the month of August. That number is more or less correct so that is what august looked like.”

Hipolito Novelo

“So you can guarantee the Belize public that they will not be experiencing another chicken shortage any time soon?”

Raymond Barkman

“Nope, not any time soon unless e is another pandemic. We didn’t have chicken shortage in the last fifty years and the only time when we did is when this pandemic came. I guess I can’t guarantee chicken shortage during a pandemic but under normal circumstance as we are currently I think we are completely fine where we are.  We have come this far and we feel that we have figured this out and here we are now not having to worry about a chicken shortage any more. So that is good news.”

Hipolito Novelo

“So operations have normalized?”

Raymond Barkman

“Yes indeed, they have. They have so much in fact that we decided to be patriotic already this September and give back a sale to all of us Belizeans and hope we can enjoy a good chicken without having be worried about portioning We used the Belizean anniversary because we are thirty nine years old so what we did is to cut off thirty-nine cents off the retail prices on those four items.”

No Price Increase says Quality Poultry Products

According to Barkman, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting businesses, consumers should not expect Quality Poultry Products to increase its prices. Barkman explains that the company’s philosophy is volume over profits.

Raymond Barkman, General Manager, Quality Poultry Products

“We did not raise any prices during COVID and currently like I had mentioned previously we are going through this together with everyone. And see how far we can get without having to raise any chicken prices whatsoever. So that is also a raise to parts.”

Hipolito Novelo

Would you say that the company’s revenue stream is normal or regular because speaking about increase of prices COVID has stressed a lot of companies and business but you are saying that the revenues that the company is collecting now would not force you guys to raise prices anytime soon?

Raymond Barkman

“Well, not currently. Remember volume is key. So the sooner we can get back to our volume obviously the better is it. Here at Quality our philosophy is we believe in volume over price because when you have volume you can work with a smaller profit margin than what you are selling a little bit in a high price. Might not have the same profit but we believe in volume over profit and here is why. There is along chain behind Quality. Remember we have the corn farmers and we have all the farmers who want to grow more grain so it is in our best interest to keep volume a priority over profits. But I mean of course we have this year we have lost a lot of money probably like every company but I mean of course we have had our financial difficulties but we decided we would plow this through for now and see where the future holds us.”

Channel 5