News 587 views update:Jan 11, 2010

Corn prices affect Jamaican poultry

Jamaica's largest commercial producer of poultry says it will be forced to raise chicken prices as the cost for corn, a key ingredient in chicken feed, continues to rise rapidly on the international market.

Chicken meat is the most popular source of protein for Jamaicans. The country produces up to 52 million kilograms of chicken annually. Christopher Levy, senior vice-president of poultry operations at the Jamaica Broilers Group, producers of the Best Dressed Chicken, said as much as 5% could be added to chicken prices by month-end. He explained that corn prices have risen over 100% in a year "and that is going to have a direct cost on the poultry industry and any other industry that uses corn, including the ethanol industry."
The high corn prices are being driven primarily by the increasing demand for corn in the production of ethanol in the United States. Jamaica imports about 300,000 mt of corn annually to manufacture animal feed.
The Jamaica Broilers senior vice-president noted that the price per bushel of corn in the United States had moved from approximately US$2 over a year ago to more than US$4 currently. "I don't think the prices will remain. I think they are going to continue to go up over the foreseeable future," he pointed out.
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