ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Chicken Meat Price Control Though Imports

by 5m Editor
8 October 2010, at 8:10am

EGYPT - Poultry and other meat imports are being encouraged in order to control price rises for consumers.

Egypt is offering import relief to counter the rising prices of meat and poultry, which have increased to levels exceeding the international rate – reaching 25 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, the central bank said in a statement.

Daily News Egypt reports that the statement is the government’s first admission of an abnormal price hike in these products.

Zeinab Awadallah, head of the National Association for Consumer Protection, said: "The inflation in poultry and meat [prices] has exceeded the normal limits and it is caused by the chaos in the market and the lack of government supervision."

Abdel Aziz El-Sayed, head of the Poultry Division of the Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, said: "The prices of poultry will keep rising because the prices of the inputs needed for the industry – like corn and chicks – are increasing."

He traces the height of the problem back to the loss of 50 per cent of the supply of chickens in the market during the H1N1 epidemic, which increased the price of chicks to 7.5 Egyptian pounds (EGP).

"We have started breeding new chickens but they haven't reached their maximum productivity yet," he said.

In an attempt to increase the supply of poultry and meat to meet demand and thereby stabilise prices, the central bank allowed local banks to exempt importers of meat and poultry from paying the 50 per cent cash insurance minimum that is typically imposed on imports.

The exemption will be effective for six months, leaving local banks to decide for themselves what cash insurance percentage will ultimately be applied to poultry and meat importers now that the minimum limit has been waived.

The percentage of the cash insurance minimum imposed on imports had previously been decreased from 100 per cent to 50 per cent in an earlier attempt to curb inflation.

Ahmed Shiha, head of the Importers Division of the Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, said: "This is a very good step that we have been demanding for a long time. It will increase the supply of poultry and meat in the market and consequently decrease the prices."

Mr El-Sayed has a different opinion, as he told Daily News Egypt that the central bank's efforts to facilitate imports do not solve the problem; in fact, the bank's efforts really only benefit poultry and meat importers rather than the poultry and meat industries as a whole.

He explained: "People are happy with the decision but all it will do is benefit the importers, not the industry nor the everyday Egyptian citizen."

Instead of accommodating meat and poultry imports, the government should be striving to improve the domestic production of the two commodities, which should eventually stop inflation, he said.

Mr El-Sayed added: "We import 80 per cent of the chicks' feed from abroad when we should be producing 75 per cent of it locally."