Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dungate defends chicken pricing

In a spirited letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Section, Mike Dungate offers a spirited defence of chicken marketing board pricing.

Dungate, who is executive director of the Chicken Farmers of Canada national agency, was responding to a column by Barrie McKenna.

“Nothing could be further from the truth” than McKenna’s comment that chicken is “costing the consumer some big buck-buck-bucks,” Dungate writes.

In the last year, the price of beef increased by 19.4 per cent, pork by 14.4 per cent and chicken by “only 2.7 per cent,” Dungate writes. He adds percentage for two-year price increases to once again show that chicken price increases have been much less.

He says prices paid farmers have gone down by 1.6 per cent in the last year and by 9.9 per cent over the last two years.

“This includes passing benefits from improved efficiencies in 2011 and 2012’” Dungate writes, leaving out mention that the Ontario farmers were forced to reflect feed-efficiency gains in their pricing formula under orders from the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission.
Ontario prices set the tone for what farmers are paid across Canada.

Dungate says that farm prices going down while retail prices go up “supports what we have said all along – the $1.63 a kilogram earned by farmers is fair and does not determine what consumers pay for chicken.

“This fantasy, where supply management is dismantled and savings are instantly passed on to consumers, is just that: a fantasy,” Dungate writes.

“All dismantlement does is threaten the sustainability of the Canadian chicken industry and the direct benefits it provides to Canada and Canadians.”