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Poultry Cartel Hits Sri Lankan Smallholders

by 5m Editor
23 January 2012, at 8:26am

SRI LANKA - A cartel of large scale poultry producers is emerging while smallholders who account over 40 per cent of the poultry industry are struggling to survive due to the sharp increase in cost of production, the, All Island poultry Farmers Association said.

The Chairman of the association, Dr D.D. Wanasinghe said that policymakers have ignored the voice of the small scale poultry farmer, who is represented by the Association, when policy decisions were taken in the recent past.

According to Sunday Observer, only a few large scale poultry producers have been consulted to seek the views of the industry when formulating budget proposals and as a result important issues relating to the industry have been ignored, he said.

The poultry industry is suffering due to increased maize prices as a result of insufficient domestic production and import control. Today maize prices have increased to Rs.49/ Kg while 52 per cent tariff is imposed on maize imports.

As a result the cost of poultry feed has increased sharply and the cost of production is higher and the profit margin is not attractive as there is a price sealing of Rs.350/kg for chicken. Only four large scale poultry producers attended pre budget discussions with Treasury officials and they have not pointed out the issues faced by small scale poultry farmers.

They have obtained a two-year tax exemption for import of closed house equipment, accessories, spare parts, freezer trucks and cold rooms which are used by them.

These are important for the development of the industry as a whole but not relevant to smallholders. The burning issues faced by small holders are different and if policy makers ignore their issues it would ruin the small poultry farm sector creating a cartel of large producers, he said. Dr.Wanasinghe said that last November at a discussion with Treasury officials, it was agreed to waive off import duties for maize for limited amounts, to bridge the supply gap. However, it was not implemented. Policy decisions should be taken for the benefits of maize and poultry farmers, because both industries are interdependent, he said.