Too Soon to Tell’ Impact of Neighbour’s Feed Price Cuts

Source: Barbados Today
Days after a major feed plant in neighbouring St Vincent slashed prices, Barbados’ livestock and poultry feed monopoly – Pinnacle Feeds – said Friday it is too soon to tell if it would have a significant impact on its market share.

The Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) said Tuesday that farmers across the nine-nation Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) would benefit from a price reduction as low as ten per cent on its East Caribbean Feeds brand. Barbados is not part of the OECS but farmers who import ECGC feed here also stand to benefit from the price dip.

Asked if the price cut would affect Pinnacle Feed’s market share, Rekesh Bernard, managing director of Pinnacle’s
parent company Roberts Manufacturing said it was too soon to say.

“We have reduced the price of feed twice in recent times and I don’t have enough information at this time to say whether it is a concern or not,” Bernard said. “They may have taken a feed reduction that may just bring them in line with us, so I can’t say at this point.”

President of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association Stephen Layne said he highly doubted that East Caribbean Feeds would negatively impact sales at Pinnacle.

“[East Caribbean Feeds] is not significantly imported to impact Pinnacle’s business,” he said. “Sometimes, because of the price, farmers go on to it but when they don’t get the performance they want or, because of the availability of it, they switch back to Pinnacle Feeds. Pinnacle Feeds has been doing exceptionally well now in terms of the growth rate in the poultry industry and most farmers have been very loyal to that.”

Chief executive officer of ECGC J Robert Cato said: “The price reductions on our animal feeds are ECGC’s way of showing our solid support for farmers’ success across the Caribbean. ECGC can offer reductions to farmers through a combination of market intelligence, data-driven grain procurement on the futures markets, and improved efficiencies at its feed milling plants.”

Cato further stated that since the grain crisis of 2022, the Vincentian-based company made a transformative shift in how it procured grain to ensure wheat, corn, and soya were acquired at the best possible prices.

ECGC sells chicken, cow, pig, rabbit and horse feed in 50-pound bags.

Pinnacle dropped its prices by eight per cent last August and two months later it cut prices by a further three per cent. While these may seem like marginal decreases, the cuts follow two years of significant price hikes.

In 2021, Pinnacle increased its prices by 11 per cent after the government agreed to introduce a $4 million subsidy in a bid to avert a request by the company for 26 per cent and 19 per cent increases. In 2022, the company asked for a 21 per cent increase and a government injection of $2 million in price support. In March last year, the price went up by a further eight per cent. (SZB)

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