November 2, 2007
Poultry farmers get compensation

Local poultry farmers are to be compensated by the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) for the loss of their chickens earlier this year.{{more}}

In a meeting held on Friday, October 26, representatives of the ECGC and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries met with 14 of the 87 affected farmers to conclude over two months of negotiations for compensation for the loss of over 8,500 birds.

This came as a result of an incidence in June this year when broiler farmers, island wide, observed that there was a significant lack of performance from the birds. According to the farmers, the birds were not gaining weight – they exhibited bodily proportions after five weeks like that of a one week chick; they showed excessive flight and high levels of cannibalism. Birds were also dying at unusual rates as a consequence.

Initially, it was thought that the problem was associated with birds purchased at the local hatchery at Dumbarton, but on investigation, birds imported from external sources showed similar effects. Through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, a thorough scientific investigation was carried out and the results indicated a deficiency in the feed composition. Subsequently, the major feed supplier ECGC was brought into the picture and also carried out its own investigations, the results of which indicated that the pre-mix ingredient added to the feed showed a deficiency in Sodium. Sodium deficiency as indicated by the investigations done by the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the symptoms displayed by the birds (lack of weight gain, cannibalism and excessive flight). Therefore, the suppliers of the premix, LNB Feeds B.V in Holland, accepted the responsibility and decided to compensate the farmers.

Last week, the farmers in agreement with Martin LaBorde and Elvis DeRiggs, the Marketing and Production managers, respectively, at ECGC, accepted a compensation package of EC$9 per bird to be paid by LNB Feeds, along with half of the total cost of the birds affected, to be paid by the ECGC.

The farmers are expected to receive this package as soon as possible.

The Meeting was presided over by the Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Kathian Hackshaw, Seithroy Edwards, Senior Agricultural Officer, along with other senior members of staff, in the absence of the Chief Agricultural Officer (ag) Reuben Robertson, who facilitated the negotiations on behalf of the farmers.