A Ministry of Agriculture briefing note on the poultry sector, in response to a request from Stabroek Business, states that since 2000, Guyana has moved from being a net exporter of chicken to becoming self-sufficient in poultry meat production. Since that time, the Ministry of Agriculture says, poultry meat production has increased from 11,769 metric tonnes to 27,068.7 metric tonnes last year. And, according to the Ministry, local poultry producers are targeting a share of the US$350m Caribbean Community (CARICOM) poultry market within the next three to five years.
Guyana’s estimated 5,000 poultry farmers produce between eighteen and twenty million birds annually and the Ministry of Agriculture says that based on the growth and development of the industry “it is possible for Guyana to become a net exporter of poultry meat and eggs within the next five years.”
However, the Ministry concedes that the industry still faces several challenges in its efforts to meet local demand, including a lack of continuous supply of hatching eggs, periodic unavailability of baby chicks, the high cost of transporting hatching eggs to Guyana and poor hatchery management. It adds that the absence of feed quality standardization, value-added products and poor poultry management are also contributory factors to the challenges facing the industry. The need to improve flock health, control heat stress and the creation of a more scientific method of price determination of poultry products are cited as some of the key deficiencies in the management of the sector.
Local poultry production is undertaken entirely by the private sector. The Ministry provides a number of support services to the sector, including animal health services, training for farmers and transfer of appropriate technology, support in research and development and the granting of duty-free concessions to the industry.
Poultry farming has long been one of the major small business pursuits in Guyana though small farmers have complained about rising feed costs and high flock mortality rates. High seasonal demand, particularly during the Christmas season, invariably results in significant price hikes on the local market, forcing consumers to resort to increasing consumption of fish and other forms of protein.
The Ministry says that the planned creation of a semi-autonomous Livestock Board will help to enhance the efficiency of the sector.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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