In light of recent reports that Guyana has been hit with a daunting chicken shortage that has been impacting a number of fast food businesses, the Guyana Poultry Association (GPA) is speaking out. The body in a statement made it clear that “the current shortage of chicken in Guyana has its genesis in the smuggling of chicken from Suriname which started in large quantities in early 2018.”

The GPA in a frank statement said that Suriname at the time only had a five percent duty on imported chicken and as a result large quantities of American and Brazilian chicken were legally imported to Suriname and some of that chicken was smuggled to Guyana. This, the body said, contributed to a surplus of chicken in Guyana because the local poultry farmers could not estimate the amount of smuggled chicken entering the country and thus continued producing as per norm. The resulting glut, the GPA said, “lasted from the end of May 2018 to March 2019, the largest glut of chicken Guyana has ever experienced.”

The situation came to a head when, “in June 2019, the Suriname authorities increased their duty on imported chicken from five percent to 40 percent which negatively affected the smuggled chicken business.” This saw the Enforcement Department of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) stepping up its campaign against smuggled chicken and, according to the Association, “it appeared that their efforts resulted in large seizures of chicken brought in illegally from across the border.”

Meanwhile, in March of this year, local poultry farmers were found to have excess chicken in their pens that were between 12 and 15 weeks old when the normal grow out period was six weeks. The delayed time for this excess chicken to be sold resulted in long delays before farmers could start a new brood of chicks since new broods required the pens to be empty, the GPA noted. As a result, the imports of hatching eggs have increased and local farmers have placed adequate supplies of chicken on their farms that will reach processing age in another week or two. This, the GPA said, is expected to bring an end to the shortage of local chicken. As such, it noted that “since the cause of this disruption has been rectified, this problem is unlikely to reoccur.”


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