Friday, May 19, 2017

Ontario chicken production ramps up

Ontario’s chicken farmers are finally ramping up production to fill increased allocations from the national agency.

In the most recent quota period, Ontario production increased by 8.2 per cent over year-earlier levels; the national increase was seven per cent.

Until now, Ontario production has lagged national averages, even though it had the right to produce more than the average.

Under a new deal negotiated last year, Ontario is supposed to gain larger allocations whenever the national agency increases production from year-earlier levels.

The new deal recognizes that Ontario has been chronically short of chicken.

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board has used some of the increase to enable small-scale production without quota to meet niche-market demand and it has also opened an avenue for new processors to get into the market that has been limited to existing processors based on the chronic shortage.

The shortage had prompted processors to engage in bidding wars that the province’s Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission said were indefensible.

The board rations supplies among processors, using plant supply quotas.

Then processors began importing from Quebec and Quebec processors retaliated by buying from Ontario farmers. That led to an inter-provincial deal banning trade in live chickens.