Wednesday, January 22, 2014

B.C. gets special chicken quota

The national chicken agency has turned down Ontario and Alberta requests for increased production rights to meet demand for specialty chicken, but now has granted those rights to British Columbia.

Kerry Froese, British Columbia’s director on Chicken Farmers of Canada, told his local chicken producers recently that it has the green light to operate two sets of quota, one for regular markets, the other for specialty markets.

It means B.C. no longer needs to take quota out of its regular allocation from the national agency to meet specialty-market demand, Froese said.

Alberta is so upset about not gaining enough production rights to meet demand that it has pulled out of the national agency.

A mediation process is underway now in an attempt to bring Alberta back into the agency.

Chicken Farmers of Ontario announced it would implement a new policy to provide chicken to processors who develop new specialty markets, but the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors objected and stalled implementation for more than a year.

The AOCP filed an appeal with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food Appeal Tribunal, but shelved it while further negotiations were undertaken, then revived it last fall and on Tuesday, the day before public hearings were to begin, cancelled its appeal.

Ontario was turned down when it requested additional production rights for specialty markets during the most recent meeting of directors of the national agency.

Quebec led the opposition to Ontario’s request and almost all of the provinces joined Quebec in the vote.

That leaves the situation as muddy as ever in Ontario where there are processors eager to buy chicken to serve the Kosher and Hong Kong Dressed markets, plus small-scale processors begging for chicken to further develop some smaller niche markets.