Big poultry companies Jamaica Broilers Group and Caribbean Broilers say they are likely to still be holding record-high inventory of chickens for the next six months.
That might have been good news in normal times for a country that favours poultry meat, but with demand decimated during the COVID-19 pandemic, it means the companies are uncertain they will be able to sell off enough of the supplies to deplete the stock, even amid the phased reopening of the economy, which started Monday.
The companies are especially dependent on the food services and tourism markets for sales.
The producers, who have both reported an average 40 per cent decline in chicken sales since the virus entered Jamaica in March, have been forced to cut production levels and have also turned to external storage space in an attempt to stem losses.
“I don’t think the industry has ever had this amount of chicken, quite frankly. The small farmers’ freezers are full, our freezers are full, and as far I know, the competition’s freezers are full,” Senior Vice-President of Operations and Finance at Jamaica Broilers, Ian Parsard, told the Financial Gleaner.