St. John’s Antigua- The Central Marketing Corporation (CMC) has sought to quell growing concerns by local poultry farmers, giving them the assurance that their chicken products will be purchased by the entity.
General Manager Delma Hill admitted to meeting with several farmers in recent weeks who accuse management of not buying local chicken.
“We want to support them but it would be unfair to say that we are not buying from them,” Hill said adding that the corporation would not engage in arbitrary purchases.
“We have to also have the market to take it to.”
CMC was just given the contract to supply the school meals with chicken for the school term starting in September. That contract was formerly in the hands of Stafford Mings, a local poultry farmer who supplied the programme with 4000 pounds last school term.
Mings told OBSERVER Media, now he has lost his major client, his one- year- old business now hangs in limbo.
“The market is the biggest problem,” Mings explained; “one of my other customers just told me that don’t want any chicken today.”
The businessman who invested close to $ 100, 000 in his operation, revealed that any plans for expansion has been put on hold and he is now toying with other investment prospects.
“I will wait and see how things go. We said we are giving it the end of the year to see if things turn around.”
Mings insists that the broilers produced from his farm are of the highest quality and he is at a loss to understand why the Antigua population has not taken to the taste of local chicken.
He has also called on government to guarantee the local poultry industry a share of the market.
“All we want is 5 per cent. We think if we can get 5 per cent that would be good for us until we are able to better supply the market.”
“All we want to do is sell our chicken” he added.
Mings whose 2000 broiler farm employs five workers also wants his colleagues to organise into an association to represent their interests.
In addition to buying from local suppliers, CMC admit to importing large quantities of chicken to satisfy the particular needs of customers.