2 August 2019
St Helena Government (SHG) is aware of concerns regarding the importing of a further batch of day old chicks. Previously, there has been a three year SHG-private agricultural partnership agreement with a private sector entity Roddie’s Chicken Farm, for egg production and pullet supplier. This partnership came to an end in mid-2017.
It was never intended that Government would take on the role of chick supplier, however SHG stepped back into this role in 2018 following a serious deterioration in the supply of what is a staple food product, and with the advent of the airport, it became necessary for Government to fill the void by importing day old chicks.
For a month in early 2018 Agriculture & Natural Resources Division (ANRD) investigated the demand for day old chicks through a list of orders placed with ANRD’s Veterinary and Livestock Section. A demand for more than 3,000 chicks was established, three batches of chicks have already been supplied, and this latest planned import of day old chicks, is the last batch required to satisfy the outstanding orders. Before procuring this last import, ANRD checked with local producers and small-holders to see if the outstanding orders are still required and have received confirmation that they are.
By the time the new chicks arriving this month are released from quarantine, the first 1,000 chicks imported to the Island will already be 1 year old. The new batch of chicks will come into-lay after 20-22 weeks and their impact on supply of eggs therefore will only be expected in January 2020. By this time the first 1,000 chicks imported will then be 18 months old, and already most of the way through their prime productive laying period. No further chicks are proposed to be ordered by ANRD until producers require replacement chicks possibly in late 2020. This will allow all four batches of imported chicks to come into full lay and allow the market for eggs to find an even keel.
2 August 2019