Poultry farmers in Saint Lucia who are members of the Poultry Industry Cooperative Society have set their sights on exporting to overseas markets.
However the President of the Cooperative, Isaac Alphonse, told the Times that the inhibiting factor currently is appropriate certification.
“There are certain standards you have to meet before you are able to export and until we are certified meet the requirements of the importing countries we will not be able to do so,” Alphonse told the Times.
As far as he was concerned, Saint Lucia produces chicken that is quite second to none in the Caribbean and some of what is produced in the United States, albeit smaller.
Alphonse noted that local chicken is free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
Responding to critics who have consistently claimed that local producers are unable to supply the Saint Lucia market, he said the critics would say anything.
He disclosed that local producers currently have the capability to satisfy forty percent of the Saint Lucia market, but want to develop the sector gradually with the collaboration of importers and the government.
He said it was not just about making money for the producers, but ensuring food security.
“It takes one bad thing to happen in the US and chicken and anything else cannot be imported,” Alphonse declared.
Expressing what he stressed was a personal viewpoint, he disclosed that he would like the local poultry industry within the next five years to satisfy not only the local market, but export to other countries as well.
Currently there are an estimated 110-115 poultry producers, both table egg and poultry meat farmers.
About seventy are members of the Poultry Industry Cooperative Society.