Bounty Farms Limited has received approval for the trade of poultry and poultry products in Caricom member states but has no plans as yet to expand or increase production, according to Managing Director Patrick de Groot.
Last month, Caricom announced that nine poultry processing plants from Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago had been approved for trade among member states, after they were evaluated by Regional Risk Assessments Teams and met the sanitary requirements.
de Groot confirmed to Stabroek News that Bounty Farms is the company from Guyana that has been given permission to trade regionally.
“We are cleared to export chicken but all the countries with a big market are already self-sufficient with chicken, such as Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Belize… and will not require from Guyana,” de Groot explained.
With respect to the smaller countries in the Caribbean, he explained that most of them do not have any import duties, so they choose to import cheap chicken from the United States and other countries.
“…So they are not going to buy chicken from Guyana because ours are going to be a lot more expensive. It’s not easy. We are now going to start exploring it,” he said, while pointing out that when the company starts venturing into the regional market, it will focus on the “small, niche markets.”
Apart from satisfying the local market, the company is currently exporting a small amount of chicken to Suriname.
de Groot said that the company is happy to be presented with the opportunity to be able to tap into the regional market and should the need arise, it will be there to fulfill any shortage. “We have to wait on them to approach and we are still doing research and seeing how the market goes, seeing where there are any markets but the production will still be the same,” he noted.
Even though the large countries are self-sufficient, de Groot explained that there are special occasions when the demand will be high, which is when Guyana will be able to tap into the regional market.
“The whole thing is the countries that are self-sufficient, if they have a shortfall in chicken, then they will source from within the Caribbean, rather than sourcing it from outside. Until they have a shortfall, we are not going to be exporting,” he explained.
While Bounty Farms is the only poultry farm from the country that has been cleared for trade, de Groot confirmed that most of the other larger Caribbean countries have seen multiple poultry farms being cleared for the intra-regional trade. “There are a lot of companies and Bounty is the only one in Guyana. There are about three in Trinidad, two in Barbados and Jamaica and I believe Belize too,” he stated.
In terms of the local market, de Groot said that the company is performing very well and he assured the public that there would be no shortage of chicken during the Christmas season.