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Jamaican producers have a 'beef' with imports

12 January 2007

JAMAICA - Rising world beef prices have pushed the local cattle sector into a more competitive position, local farmers say, but immediately warned that any move now to ease up on importers could erode those gains and chance to redevelop the industry while the market is hot.

In fact, Balteano Duffus, general secretary of the secretary of the Beef and Dairy Producers Association of Jamaica (BDPAJ), suggested that beef burger was already being sold in Jamaica at prices that appear to be below market.

Beef burger, made from beef trimmings, ranges from US$2.54 to US$2.89 per kilogramme - prices quoted by Costa Rica and Panama, said Duffus.

"When we apply only the duty of 86 per cent," he said in an interview with the Financial Gleaner," the price is coming out at about J$315."

Freight and other charges should add a premium to that price, he continued, but instead, the imported product is being sold here at a price $40 lower.

"On what basis is it being offered locally at $275?" asked Duffus. "That is what we want investigated."

Unsuccessful Attempts

Attempts at comment from the agriculture ministry on the issue were unsuccessful. The Financial Gleaner was transferred to several offices, and eventually to Duffus, who happens to have an office at the Ministry's Hope Road headquarters.

The beef sector, which the BDPAJ secretary says is worth $9.8 billion measured

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Source: Jamaica Gleaner


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