By Candace Phillips
As the shortage of chicken continues on the local market, the cost fluctuates between $380 and over $400 for a pound, forcing consumers to seek alternatives or pay the high prices.
Stabroek News checked prices at two city supermarkets and the city markets recently and observed that the prices remain high. At several stalls at Bourda Market, the cost is $380 per pound of chicken. One stall holder said that the price had risen to the current figure from $340 about three weeks ago. She added that last week, the commodity was being sold for as much as $420 per pound. According to the woman, consumers are buying less, but the demand is still there. The price of beef remains at $340 per pound at Bourda.
Meantime, at Stabroek Market, the price ranges from $380-$400 per pound of chicken at selected stalls. At a stall where chicken was being sold at $400, the stall holder said that customers were still buying as normal. However, as beef was being sold at $280 per pound, persons were opting to purchase this meat in greater amounts.
Another stall holder said that while the wholesale price of chicken has risen, he has not passed on this increase to his customers. He said that he is operating at a loss but added that if it rose again, he will be forced to raise the price. He opined that consumers are continuing to purchase because “they don’t have a choice.” According to the man, beef is selling more than before, because it’s cheaper. Beef was being sold at $340. Chicken parts such as the foot, giblets, neck and back all retail for $300 per pound. The stall holder said that these are being sold more as well, due to its price. However, these parts have seen increases in price by at least $60 each.
Meantime, at Bounty Supermarket, a whole chicken retails at $621 per kilo or $282 per pound. A staff member said that there has been no recent increase in the prices of poultry products at the supermarket. At Nigel’s Supermarket, chicken was retailing at $320 per pound.
On July 2, the Guyana Poultry Producers Association (GPPA) had assured that the supply of chicken and eggs on the local market would return to normal in four to six weeks. The increase in price was attributed to a shortfall in the supply of hatching eggs out of the United States, following overproduction there in 2008. At a meeting with the Association, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said that importation would be resorted to in the advent of a crisis, a situation which did not exist in the local market.
The Guyana Marketing Corporation had issued an advisory urging consumers to consider using alternative sources of meat and protein in their diet until the supply and price of chicken returns to normal.