Chicken back in short supply

August 27, 2021
Chicken back is in short supply.
Chicken back is in short supply.

Jamaica has been hit by a shortage of chicken back due to a shortage in overseas markets. Given the current situation, consumers are being told to expect the scarcity to continue.

Michael Pryce, chief technical director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, said the shortage has had an impact on the supply of chicken back in local shops.

"They can't get the product overseas, so yes there is a shortage here. From what I gather, as we speak, even if they got the import licence, they could not get the product overseas," Pryce said.

Bryan Wong, proprietor of Spanish Grain Store, and one of the island's major importers of chicken back, said the market is experiencing a shortage since last year. He said one of the two business suppliers overseas has been experiencing challenges with sourcing employees to work in their factories.

Jamaica imports around US$25 million worth of chicken back and chicken neck each year. Several persons who depend on the chicken back as their main source for protein have been left disappointed in recent times due to the shortage.

Kim, a resident of Denham Town in West Kingston, said she has been purchasing chicken gizzard, chicken neck and hand-cut chicken back as a substitute to 'regular' chicken back which is retailed for $170 per pound to $190 per pound.

Hand-cut chicken back, which is locally produced, sells for as much as $230 per pound while it cost about $90 per pound for chicken neck.

Rosie, who lives in Denham Town, said she has grown accustomed to the constant shortage of chicken back.

"If we nuh get the chicken back, we just affi gwan eat anything we can find. We just work with it, we buy mackerel, chicken parts or anything weh we can get. All chicken raise too, but we affi work with it. Me like when the chicken back mix with the meat, it nice dah way, deh but if me nuh have it, mi work without it, and find something else," Rosie said.

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