The damage incurred by small independent poultry farmers due to the destruction of hurricane Dean is already evident, with an obvious effect on the country’s poultry sector.
More than 100,000 day-old chicks were dumped last week as farmers affected by the Category Four hurricane were unable to purchase poultry from its hatchery, says Jamaica Livestock Association CEO, Henry J. Rainford, adding that thousands of poultry farmers islandwide lost their livestock, coops and equipment.
Rainford said that one of the major problems is that customers have nowhere to put the chicks. “We lost almost a week’s supply of chicks as some 150,000 are usually sold per week to the farmers,” he said, adding that more than 100,000 day-old chicks make up approximately 30-40% of the country’s broiler industry.
He has pleaded with the government to provide assistance to the poultry farmers in terms of funding to rebuild coops and to purchase equipment and chicken feed.
“They will bounce back very quickly if they get assistance. Within eight weeks they can be back in business,” said Rainford.
He noted that this devastation will no doubt impact on the number of ready-to-eat poultry on the market and possibly the price of chicken meat.