Fresh chicken shortages likely in Bahrain
Manama, May 2, 2014
Another wave of fresh chicken shortages could hit Bahrain this week as 31 poultry farmers have pledged to intensify their strike over pending demands.
A union, representing 31 of the country's 33 poultry farms, said it will halt the purchase of chicks from Bahrain's main importer, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The Delmon Poultry Company has been told to stop importing eggs on behalf of the farms until their demands are officially met.
Three of the protesting farms have already stopped production and more are expected to follow suit.
They have demanded to be paid 100 fils extra per kilogramme of chicken supplied to the market and for the slaughter house to work at night.
"We are standing firm and will not stop our strike until our demands are met," said union spokesman Jameel Salman, who is also the owner of Bahrain's biggest poultry farm - Al Safa.
"All we want is 100 fils extra per kilo and for slaughtering to be done at night not during the day.
"I am sure we will get what we want because Ramadan is coming and a Ramadan without fresh chicken will be disastrous.
"Now there are three farms that have stopped (production) and more will follow - there should be a small shortage of fresh chicken in the market but it will get worse.
"We are not asking for too much, but we need these changes to be made not just talked about.
"Delmon Poultry replied to our letter saying that the extra 100 fils is a government issue and that they need to research the possibility of changing slaughter times."
Farmers say they gather the fowls for slaughter by 9pm daily, but the birds are slaughtered at 6am the following day.
They claim chickens that are cooped up overnight on average lose around 70gm in weight, which equates to about 50 fils per bird.
With 35,000 fowls slaughtered every day, that is equivalent to BD1,750 that farmers have to absorb.
"We have advised Delmon Poultry about the correct practices for dealing with live chickens and they showed us the percentage of deaths, which were at an acceptable level," said Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry agriculture, livestock and fisheries under-secretary Shaikh Khalifa bin Isa Al Khalifa's agricultural consultant Professor Mohamad Foda.
"In regards to the slaughter times - a farmer will usually give the chickens extra water and feed them before taking them to be slaughtered.
"They (Delmon Poultry) want to lose the extra water-weight and allow the chickens to fully digest their last meal before slaughter."
He said the larger problem was that there was a monopoly in the mutton and chicken industries in Bahrain, meaning there was little incentive to improve, innovate and regulate practices for the better.
Farmers first voiced their complaints more than a month ago, but have continued to raise hatchlings and supply chicken to the market after government authorities reportedly promised to improve their situation.-TradeArabia News Service