Egg producers on Tuesday appealed to private feed importer, Mastermix, to suspend a price increase, saying they could not afford the additional cost.
Mastermix general manager Hamant Mahabir has confirmed animal farmers, including the egg producers, will have pay the new price which came into effect on Monday.
But, Association of TT Table Egg Producers vice president Dennis Ramsingh said the farmers were unable to meet the new cost.
A letter, he said, was sent to Mahabir on Tuesday morning in hope that the company suspends the increase.
The letter stated, “In keeping with our inability to secure markets and to service consumers, we kindly request a suspension of the increase until it is economically safe to do so where the effects will be on a level playing field and market insecurity will not be as threatening.”
The only response to the request by Mahabir was, “I did receive (it). I will respond to the letter in due course.”
Supermarkets Association president Rajiv Diptee said a response on the matter would be issued soon.
Livestock farmers have been clamouring for the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries to intervene to mitigate against the impact of price increases of feed, but on Tuesday the minister said there is not much that can be done.
Agricultural Society president Darryl Rampersad had raised concerns about feed price increases last Saturday. The proposed figure was set at about 10 per cent and global price increases in corn and soybean, as well as other market demands, have been cited as the reasons for the expected hike.
Minister Clarence Rambharat, via Whatsapp, said because the importation of feed was done privately, the private sector will determine the price structure.
“The import of grain, manufacture of feed and sale of feed are private sector/National Flour Mills (NFM) activities. Grain prices and other costs are rising. Some will be passed to the purchasers and the minister of trade and industry can address the issue of prices to consumers.”
He added that state lands have been previously provided to assist farmers with local feed production and the ministry would welcome proposals for forage farming.
“The production of feed locally is already happening with certain livestock farmers. Recent state land allocations for livestock farming includes land for the development of forage farms – that is Central Duck Farm, Khan Organic Meats and Aripo Livestock Limited, for example.
“There is an expansion project for the Nutrimix feed mill. The State has made the additional land available. And if there is a private sector proposal to do livestock feed locally – I am happy to look at it.”
State-owned NFM did not indicate an increase in prices, like its competitor, Mastermix, but noted that it was monitoring the global pricing landscape.
NFM chairman Nigel Romano also told Newsday via Whatsapp on Tuesday, “We are investigating. When the investigation is complete, we will inform the population. This is not a sprint.”