(De Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – ‘All hen houses are full right now. Consequently the chickens become big, so very expensive. Chicken is flooding the market,’ says Peter van Dijk, chair of the Association of Poultry Farming Suriname (APSS). Van Dijk blames the surplus on the irregular import of foreign chicken.
The local sector is good for 100,000 chickens a week. In view of the surplus, Combé Markt has cancelled three shipments, switching to the local product. ‘We had planned to import six containers (170 tons) of chicken,’ says Radjen Ramsoedit of the Combé Markt management. Combé Markt sells 10 tons of chicken per week.
In contrast to Combé Markt’s decision, Rambros Ltd has imported 500 tons of chicken, expecting the last shipment to arrive in the third week of December. Rambros imports some 75 to 100 tons of chicken per week from Brazil and the United States. ‘Imported and local chicken differ too much in price,’ says Van Dijk. ‘If local chicken is sold at the same price as the foreign product, the Surinamese poultry industry is doomed, so the APPS presses for an increase of the import duty on imported chicken, lower cost for fodder, medicine and other necessities for the local industry, while at the same time an increased sales tax and import duties on inputs. ‘We want fair competition, so the government should stop importing cheap chicken.’ Van Dijk understands that local chicken is much more expensive than imported one, but he states that the price could drop if more chicken is produced locally.
The APPS has been urging for years to double the import duty on foreign chicken, stating that the entire region imposes over 100 percent of import duty on chicken while Suriname is stuck at 20 percent. ‘It is important to have a guaranteed food supply, but imports take away that guarantee because we become too dependent on foreign chicken.’