Egg farmers’ affiliation raps agri ministers over ‘guarantees not stored’

President of the Jamaica Egg Farmers’ Association, Mark Campbell, is once more interesting to the Government to take away General Consumption Tax (GCT) on desk eggs to cushion the impression of rising manufacturing prices on struggling native egg farmers.

In addressing the affiliation’s normal assembly in St Ann on Friday, Campbell stated successive ministers with portfolio duty for agriculture have promised to deal with the plight of the egg farmers, however nothing has been achieved so far.

According to him, the rising costs for hen feed induced primarily by disruptions within the world market, is resulting in an increase in egg manufacturing prices domestically.

“We, through the ministry during the (COVID-19) pandemic, demonstrated that Jamaicans will buy more eggs if the GCT is not on it, (and) if it gets to consumers cheaper by removing the GCT,” asserted Campbell.

“… Because even when you the farmer don’t charge that GCT, the supermarket man puts it on. So, the consumer pays it, and so it is a burden to the consumer.

“Every single minister who has sat within the chair (over latest years) has promised to take care of this matter, and we nonetheless wait,” he bemoaned.

Campbell predicted that once the GCT is removed from table eggs, it will also lead to growth in the agricultural sector locally.

The Jamaica Egg Farmers’ Association has long held the view that the GCT, which was applied to table eggs in 2012, has created disparities in the industry.

During an address at the association’s annual general meeting in February of last year, then Agriculture Minister, Floyd Green, agreed with the suggestion that the GCT should be removed from table eggs.

Floyd Green

“If we’re saying it is (eggs) such an excellent protein; if we’re saying we’re now trying how we will feed ourselves; then we’ve to scale back the fee in order that working folks can be capable of afford (eggs),” stressed Green at the time.

In noting that the tax on eggs has been driving up its cost, Green then said he was lobbying Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, to ascertain whether the tax can be removed.

However, Green noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult to ask for the tax to be removed.

He, however, assured that the Government had no plans to abandon the egg farmers, stating that “we’ll proceed on that trajectory” of intervening when necessary to protect an industry that has “nice dietary worth”.

Since that time, the Agriculture Minister has been headed by two different ministers following Green’s resignation in September 2021 over a party incident.

Audley Shaw

Audley Shaw took over the portfolio after Green’s resignation, and Pearnel Charles Jr was appointed in January of this year after a Cabinet reshuffle.

Pearnel Charles Jr

Green at the moment serves as Minister with out Portfolio within the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), with major duty for the implementation of the National Identification System (NIDS).

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