Egg, meat suppliers ready for Christmas rush
Jamaican consumers will have more than adequate supplies of pork and eggs for the high consumption Christmas period, producers say amid a boost in production by both industries. President of the Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association, Hanif Brown, told Gleaner Business the association now has to be warning its members against creating a glut as production was significantly ramped up going into the season.
"We are very much in high supply even to the point where we have to be cautioning farmers to make sure they don't over supply," Brown said.
"Based on the feedback from processors, they are getting more pigs than they need. All I can ask is that consumers eat more pork," he said.
Egg producers are also sure of more than adequate supplies, according Roy Baker, president of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association (JEFA).
"For 2016, we are projecting a production that is the second highest ever," Baker said.
Compared to 2012 when the farmers delivered some 170 million eggs, the farmers expect 167 million eggs for 2016.
Still he is a bit concerned that Jamaicans appear to be consuming fewer eggs.
"We have had substantial growth in the tourism industry but in our regular market there is no substantial growth," said the JEFA president.
The 'Get Cracking' and 'Eat Eggs' campaigns launched earlier this year have had little impact on lifting consumer appetite for the protein, he added.
JEFA partnered with Hi-Pro and the United States Soybean Export Council on the campaigns in August to get Jamaicans to eat more eggs.
But, "We are also concluding that there is no significant growth with consumption with the exception of the impact of the tourist industry," Baker said.
Similarly, Downie Walker, agriculturalist and representative of the pool of poultry farmers contracted to Jamaica Broilers Group, said consumers will have ample supplies of poultry.
"There will be no need to import any pork. Chicken and eggs will also be in adequate supply," Walker said, while lauding the plan to remove general consumption tax from agricultural inputs.
Pork production is recovering from slump, which up to last year, saw processors clambering for the relaxation of import rules to allow them to meet the demand with the egg producers also recovering from a similar shortage of the protein, a spillover from 2013.