Last Updated on Friday, 7 July 2023, 16:36 by Denis Chabrol
President Irfaan Ali on Friday announced that government would import and distribute free vaccines to small and medium-scale poultry farmers to help prevent wider spread of the deadly poultry virus, Inclusion Body Hepatitis (IPH).
He also told hundreds of farmers at a meeting held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) that government was importing foreign chicken for free distribution to broiler producers to help ease a shortage, reduce the price of that protein source to below GY$500 per pound and ease them financially to get back into production.
Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Livestock and Development Agency (GLDA), Dr Dwight Walrond told Demerara Waves Online News that initially 2.5 million doses of the single-shot vaccines would be imported to curb the spread of IPH and eliminate the US$6 per dose from poultry farmers’ operational costs. President Ali said that would cost GY$29 million.
“This is just being proactive,” he said, pointing out that the virus will spread rapidly during the predicted dry spell.
Amid some opposition by a number of farmers to government supplying them imported chicken, David Fernandes of the Poultry Association justified the offer. “You sell it to the public at $380 per pound on the wholesale side and you make that and you can take that $100.00 that you get and you go back and you put chicks in rather than a gift from government of baby chicks and feed or money and that is basically what this is all about,” he said.
Mr Fernandes, who is the owner of one of Guyana’s largest chicken producers, said all producers have a responsibility to the nation to supply chicken at a reasonable price. He cautioned poultry producers against increasing their prices as government could be forced to authorise the large-scale importation of that type of meat. “You’re messing your own self up because when government find out they are going to bring chicken and if the powers-that-be make a decision, we can’t change it because we’re only pawns in the game but what we have to do is be honest and don’t sell for,” he said.
The IPH virus results in low weight of 8 to 9-week old chickens and eventual death.
The disease has been present in Guyana since 2008 but one farmer said that virus has been spreading increasingly over the last two years.