Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chickenshit hits the fan

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board has its shirt in a knot over the lack of chicken to meet the demand for the kosher market.

That has delayed the process of establishing national production targets and allocating shares among the provinces.

The two-week delay will create major challenges for growers and hatcheries to get enough birds to the right people to meet the kosher-market demand.

The chicken board says somebody is willing to take over the Chai Kosher Poultry plant facilities in Toronto on a custom-operator basis to meet the demand.

It also says another processor has expressed interest in meeting the demand.

Both would need the processors, as a group, to give up supplies to fill the market.

That’s because the Ontario board made a deal with the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors to grant each of them a certain percentage of any total the national agency allows Ontario to produce.

There is no word about whether the chicken board is willing to allow CAMI Poultry Inc. of Welland to fill the demand, as it has requested.

The Ontario board has been starving CAMI of chicken supplies to keep its demand for Hong Kong style chicken supplies.

Those people want whole birds with feet and heads left on and CAMI is the only plant in Ontario that was doing that.

There are sharp criticisms already coming in to the Ontario chicken board, noting that it sat on its hands when the Asian customers couldn’t get what they want, but suddenly jumped like scared rabbitgs when the Jewish community was left without kosher chicken.

Sargent Farms bought Chai earlier this year and Sargent, which has a significant market for halal-standard chicken for the Muslim community, was not in a position to meet the demand for kosher chicken.

Apparently Quebec has objected to Ontario getting more chicken from the national agency to address the demand for kosher chicken.

That has also prompted sharp criticisms, noting that Quebec has for too long bullied Ontario and the other provinces that are part of national supply management.

There are rumours that the Jewish community went directly to Ontario Premier and Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne and to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pleading for them to intervene to ensure the demand for kosher chicken is met.