Customers now have to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase poultry products.
Nutrimix Group of Companies director Ronnie Mohammed confirmed to Guardian Media on Tuesday that the company on Monday adjusted the prices of their products.
«It (price adjustment) depends on so many different types of products we carry, so the variation is very much skewed. I don’t have a number in front of me but predominantly, I think what would be considered a whole chicken, which I guess is household, the others will be considered more speciality cuts, would have been about six per cent,» Mohammed said.
Explaining that several factors contributed to the adjustments, he said, «There has been a series of adjustments in the marketplace and definitely significant incremental costs relating to hatching eggs, grains, packaging materials, fuel, and our adjustments are a reflection of those costs.»
However, he said Nutrimix was «exceedingly tardy» in adjusting their prices, but «you get to the point where you have higher cost inventory coming in.»
Poultry Association of T&T president and Arawak marketing director Robin Phillips said there was an average price increase of five per cent in the last week of April. He said the adjustments were necessary since they have been running at a loss in their processing division since March.
«Since coming to the end of March when there was a big surge in the price of grain as a result of what is taking place in Ukraine, so we had to make some of the adjustments. A lot of the other inputs have gone up but grain was the main driving force,» he said.
Given the strain on the supply chain, Phillips said a lot of their customers were happy that they could continue to supply chicken.
«At least we have been able to manage that, in terms of sourcing our grain and our hatching eggs, which are the two critical things in our industry. The local poultry industry has been successful in managing that aspect of the business, securing the grain supply and the hatching eggs supply,» Phillips said.
Meanwhile, poultry depot owners admit their customers are complaining and there has been a decline in sales.
«Is like every week going by, chicken going up, it will be like 15 cents, 20 cents, accordingly. There are other businesses paying more money than us. Is like feed gone up, you can’t get baby chicks, eggs…not only chicken, you hardly getting ducks, shortage of eggs,» said Anthony Mohip, owner of 786 Meat Supplies.
Noting that last week he increased his prices, he said: «I doubt I will increase again. I will hold this price until (but), if next week prices go up again well we will have to increase.»
Mohip said a chicken priced at $50 last month could now cost $60 and up.
R&N Poultry and Meat Supplies owner Nalini Jitta is now selling chicken at $8 per pound, 50 cents more than last month’s price.
«It affecting the business. People hardly buying because of the price. So instead of buying five chicken, some of them buying two or one. Some people just walking in, asking the price and then walking back out because they cannot afford it. If wholesale (price) wasn’t that high we would not have to raise it. Because of the shortage of chicken the prices keep going up.»
Explaining that suppliers have been unable to meet their orders, Jitta said she only receives about half of what she orders now.
«You getting a little bit (of chicken) every day. Is not like you getting the full amount,» she added.
Jitta said the price of feed also went up from $180 per bag to $250 in some places. Several customers also complained to Guardian Media about the increases.
Consumer Rajpattie Ramnath complained, «It affecting me real bad because my husband don’t have a regular job and I not working really and the prices of chicken is more than we use to pay before.»
She said she has been forced to reduce her chicken consumption. «Let we say before I used to buy five, six. Now I can only buy about four. So I cannot afford to buy how much I used to buy,» she added.
LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian