Heavy rains claim 3,900 birds from Farmers Unlimited
November 25, 2005

Heavy rains claim 3,900 birds from Farmers Unlimited

Loss of life and housing were not the only tragedies of the heavy rains experienced last week.

Poultry farmer David Browne, proprietor of “Farmers Unlimited,” has run his business for nearly three years at its Cane Grove location. But on Monday, November 21, the entrepreneur helplessly watched in horror as some three feet of water overflowed the nearby riverbank, and literally washed his business from under his feet. {{more}}

Browne said 3,900 birds were killed and only 500 birds remained and feared that more would die from stress.

He said the “layer” hens that have survived have reduced their output from two cases per day to one case of eggs daily because of the stress they have undergone. He feared that although they were treated with medication to prevent diseases, some will still die, which will mean a further loss in production.

With banks to repay and six workers now out of a job, the farmer is disappointed that he is now unable to keep his commitments. He pointed out that his loss has also spilled over to other businesses since as a supplier to supermarkets

and restaurants, his clients have been left stranded especially around the Christmas season when eggs are needed.

He said he normally purchases 30% of his broiler chicks from the government hatchery but now has no money. Browne said as one of the largest poultry producers, the government and hospitality industry would feel the spin-off because some of his clients were now sourcing poultry from Miami which meant further loss to the economy.

Browne estimated the total loss of poultry and property including chicken feed at $40,000.

The 29-year-old expressed concern that the river has now been left completely exposed and could cause further damage if it overflows its banks again.

The successful poultry farmer of over 10 years said that his next plan will be preventative by constructing a massive 200ft retaining wall and drains 4ft wide. He praised the response from the National Emergency Management Organisation, NEMO, the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies, ECGC, where he purchased the feed, and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The farmer said despite the tragic loss he will not be daunted and has so far filed documents on the damage to get assistance to re-start his business.

Browne who is also a poultry consultant with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, believed that he will rise again with the help of God and envisions himself buying the land which he has leased from the government next year when it would be up for sale.