Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Imports of Chicken and Eggs for the Festive Season – Will you bet on fact or fiction?

Today 8th December, the Minister of Consumer Affairs announced in Parliament that 2500Tonnes of Chicken and 50Million eggs will be imported for the Festive Season. Please watch the facts as to how much chicken and eggs will be imported and the actual dates of arrival in the country and another 4 days before it gets to the retail outlets so that the likes of you and I may have a chance of buying such!

I would like to know how many of the readers believe this will happen, even if it comes after the festive season, as there is no practical way of getting it to the retail store within 14days. So why do we even permit such statements to be made and secondly reported? It is because we read and believe that will be done, and sing his praises. Do you remember how 8 weeks ago the cess on the import of Big Onions was reduced? Well the imports of this at the lower price is yet to take place, as Big Onions are still Rs180/- a kg and we have been promised that the price will come down at the end of the week once the new shipments arrive.

In my farm shop, I sell eggs, which I buy from my neighboring farm. On Monday I was speaking to the owner of the farm about the price I paid for the eggs, namely Rs14/-, the previous week I had paid Rs11/- and asked him if next week it will rise further due to the festive season demands. He said as feed costs have risen and if demand exceeds supply it will inevitably be so. Only imports can stop the rise.

This is another case where the planning period is longer than the knee jerk reaction to criticism the agents of the Government indulge in. If they were serious about controlling the price of chicken and eggs, then sufficient notice would be given to the trade and orders placed so that the extra quantities would be in the shelves when needed. The producers and consumers know the score. Remember what happened once with the rice. In an attempt to control the rising price, rice was imported, but it came to the shelves once the next harvest was in, resulting in a glut, and this massacred the price down, decimating the livelihoods of farmers who have to sell their crop as soon as it is harvested due to their personal needs.

Is this a precursor for a repeat of the same? If the chicken and eggs arrive when demand drops, then the resulting oversupply will force those producers of this food item to sell at a loss, thereby seriously affecting them, some of whom will go out of business and prices will accordingly rise. They (ministers) who are making these decisions on behalf of the nation, though elected by the people have never produced as much as a pea in their lives, and don’t know the production cycle or the import cycle. You cannot run a country in this haphazard manner betraying the public!!


cj said...

I can bet my last penny that it will not arrive in time for the festive season. But then these are politicians who are uttering these statements - which is not worth the paper its printer on - as long as they are seen to be doing something by the public thats all that matters to them.

George said...

Coconuts in Wennappuwa, a major production area, has risen to Rs. 50/ per nut. Will there be imports of fresh coconuts now?