Just last week I visited a school’s farm and saw the delightful fully grown hens that undoubtedly will end up on someone’s plate for dinner. I happily purchased some chickens for my own dinner so I am by no means a vegetarian. Indeed I enjoy preparing various dishes using chicken and it is a popular menu item in many Jamaican homes.
However, being a vegetarian might be an attractive alternate if chicken prices continue to rise. There have been recent announcements that have stated that chicken prices will increase in January 2013. Restaurants might also be forced to increase prices of dishes that include chicken which will affect consumers. I suppose it might be a happy new year for chickens everywhere but I am forced to contemplate lessening my consumption because it might eventually become a strain on my budget.
Why are chicken prices set to increase?
Well it’s the same song everywhere, the economy has forced those companies who command the largest market share such as Jamaica Broilers and Caribbean broilers, to put the burden on consumers.
A spokesman from Caribbean Broilers in a television interview on the local news admitted that the reasons for the increase include the increased price of grain imported from U.S.A, depletion of reserve funds and the ever increasing slide of the Jamaican dollar.
The reported increase will be at 4%, now I must admit that might not look like much of an increase but I promise you it all adds up at the register.
So what can consumers do? Especially us chicken lovers?
I see several possibilities, first let us continue to support local chicken production and it might also be good to explore the option of buying in bulk which might reduce our overall bill at the end of the month.
The increased cost of grain is a problem but maybe it might be beneficial to research alternative ingredients for chicken feed that do not need to be imported. There are lots of bright minds in the island so let us encourage them to invest in agriculture.
In the meantime, let us enjoy the holidays and cook up a storm as we brace for further increases. How are you going to cope with the increases? Let me hear from you!