Poultry farmers urge Govt. to be firm on policy

Saturday, 5 February 2011 02:36 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Local poultry farmers urge the government not to cause further disruption to their operations by sporadic imports of poultry.

Local producers complained that when small scale producers hear the news of the government trying to import chickens and eggs, they may stop their regular production in fear of excess stock in the market and thereby a lack of sales.

Such a move will cause disruptions to the local industry and put the small scale farmers’ livelihoods in jeopardy.

President, All Island Poultry Association, Dr. D.D Wanasinghe told the Weekend Daily FT that presently there was a marginal surplus of chicken in the market and that even for the upcoming Sinhala New Year the local producers can meet the increased demand for chicken.

“We urge the government not to import chicken and cause disruption among the local producers, especially the small scale producers, as they may find it difficult when there is excess stock in the market,” explained Dr. Wanasinghe.

An average of 9, 500 metric tonnes of chicken is available in the market and the Association is confident of meeting the heavy demand during the Sinhala New Year period.

“If chicken is to be imported, it would disturb the local industry and also push the small scale poultry farmers to keep out of production, and thereby cause further problems to the industry,” explained Dr. Wanasinghe.

“We want the government to give encouragement and assurance to the local poultry farmers so that poultry farmers especially small scale poultry farmers keep their trade,” said Wanasinghe.

With regard to the egg industry, Dr. D. Wanasinghe does admit that there is a slight shortage in the market but that the situation is improving as day old pullets are now being reared to increase the egg supply to the market.

The government had brought down about 150,000 day old pullets but this amount is insufficient as the demand for day old pullets is one million explained Dr. Wanasinghe.

“Now the local hatcheries are stepping up their production and it will take six months to see the results,” he said.

“By April and May we will see improvement in the availability of eggs in the local market,” stressed the President of the All Island Poultry Association adding “We again urge the government not to drive fear into the minds of the local egg hatcheries or farmers of day old chicks, which may result in their reducing the production and supply”.