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Poultry Farms May Have to Close

by 5m Editor
18 October 2010, at 9:32a.m.

BAHRAIN - The State's six biggest poultry farms could be forced out of business within 12 months, it has been claimed.

Owners say the absence of clear guidelines regulating the sector have led to them suffering major financial losses and resulted in a massive shortage of chicken, reports Gulf Daily News.

Owners alleged Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministry officials were taking decisions without properly studying the impact they will have on the market and the consequences for consumers.

Each of the six farms get day-old chicks and hay from Bahrain's only authorised chicken meat distributor the Delmon Poultry Company. They are not allowed to sell mature birds to anyone else in the market other than the company.

However, owners claim that the way the chicks were being distributed lacked logic as agriculture officials simply divide them randomly among farms.

The result has left them operating at between 40 and 70 per cent of their capacity, despite the fact the Delmon Poultry Company was willing to supply them more.

The six farms, all located in Hamala and Buri, are Al Safa, Wasmi, Khalil Khalaf, Al Ghadeer, Naseem and Dhaif.

Owners are now urging the Cabinet to form a fact-finding team to prepare a report on the situation to be presented to His Majesty King Hamad in a bid to save them from bankruptcy.

"I have a capacity for 250,000 hens in my farm, but I am only given 185,000 one-day chicks to raise," said Al Safa owner Jameel Ali Salman.

Mr Salman, who represents the six farms on the ministry's poultry committee, said the body, set up to ensure the success of Bahrain's poultry industry, is not working.

He said consumers were also victims since there was not enough chicken in the market to meet demand, claiming the country had a shortfall of around 40 per cent.

Owners also claim the 200,000-dinar (BHD) annual budget allocated for vaccinations was being mismanaged with unnecessary medicines being purchased. For the past 10 years, the six farms have been buying their own medicines and demanding that the budget was spent on other needs.

They also want chicken carcass incinerators to be bought and Near Infrared (NIR) Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy facilities and laboratories built.

Al Naseem owner, Yousif Mahdi Hussain, said the farms often get in trouble with the police whenever they burn dead or sick carcasses, which breaches environment laws.

Al Wasmi owner, Mohammed Al Maskati, said: "The market needs chicken and the reason people are not allowed to buy more than three chickens from supermarkets is because the Delmon Poultry Company is short of supply and has to meet huge demand."

He claims people would be forced to eat frozen chicken within 12 months unless the farms were allowed to fully utilise their facilities.

Industry and Commerce Ministry assistant under-secretary for domestic trade, Hameed Rahma, said a chicken-buying quota is in place to ensure that the subsidised goods met the demands of families.

"There is a ministerial decision that bans the sale of Delmon's products to hotels and restaurants because there is not enough chicken to meet regular family use," he said.

"A quota was introduced to ensure that more chicken meat went to more homes, considering that supply doesn't meet demand."

Owners called for the ministry committee be changed, reports Gulf Daily News.