Daily Archives: July 3, 2012

Spilt milk: Sophia Nicole Kellman looks at the Barbados dairy industry

by Sophia Nicole Kellman

Dairying in Barbados is under tremendous pressure. Government reduced its role in the industry during the 1990’s structural adjustment programme. A quota system took effect. Milk production fell nearly 50 per cent between 1992 and 1993. By the end of 2010, 16 commercial dairy farmers remained in the industry – less than half of the 37 registered farmers in 1990. National milk output stood below 7 million kilograms – one- half of the 14 million kilograms recorded in 1991.

Farm consolidation is common worldwide. The precipitous drop in milk output that occurred in 1992 Barbados is not. Dairy products constitute a significant part of the local diet and income. Milk remains one of the few agricultural products in which the island claims self-sufficiency. Hiccoughs in this industry trickle down to the larger society making it imperative that difficulties in the industry be identified and addressed.

The changing international trade regime, farm management practices, domestic policy and weather patterns all potentially affect economic outcomes. We examine whether moves toward trade liberalisation increased milk-based imports. Our findings show it unlikely for milk-based imports to have been responsible for the 1992 milk production drop. Today, however, the evidence suggests that trade liberalisation is exerting pressure on the local industry. Fresh milk and cream imports rise more than 3 percent after 2000. Imports of milk products that compete with locally produced ones also exhibit signs of increase.

Questionnaire-based responses identify structural characteristics of the industry. Survey data indicate high farm-level costs of production – some hovering around US$1 per kg – high prevailing price levels, reproductive and management issues, a paucity of industry support services and industry-specific research, and the absence of independent quality control and quota administration. Evidence of industry distress includes declining farm numbers, low production, and high costs.

In short, we examine factors that affect the economics of producing milk in Barbados. We find that the viability of dairying in Barbados depends on successfully dealing with domestic policy and herd management issues, given the shifting trade environment.

… Abstract from Sophia Nicole’s Kelman’s University of British Columbia Master’s Thesis – Spilt Milk: Trade liberalisation and the Barbados Dairy industry.

BFP readers can download Ms. Kellman’s 138 page thesis (in PDF format) at the UBC Library here. Well worth your time.

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Economy

What is Trinidad and Tobago objecting to about the Pine Hill Dairy packaging?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Have you had any luck finding out what exactly T&T are objecting to about the Pine Hill packaging?  The local print media just seem to take what PHD tell them as gospel.  But I wonder whether the Trinis are asking the same question that many Bajans want the answer to “How can PHD call their milk fresh milk when it has a shelf life of months?”  Is it possible that the T&T Government is providing the consumer protection that we ought to have here?  If so, maybe we should stop complaining about their unfair treatment of PHD and thank them for doing the right thing?  Just a thought…  PS I am not a Trini!

UPDATED: July 5, 2012

Dear Reader,

It looks like you were correct, the dispute is over product labeling. Here’s the story from Caribbean360.com…

Trade impasse between Barbados and TT over for now

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday July 4, 2012 – Swiftly following on the heels of the news that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart declared that Barbados would be moving to address the current trade imbalance that exists with Trinidad and Tobago, officials of Pine Hill Dairy are reporting a resolution to their seeming impasse with Trinidadian authorities.

Reports are that Chief Executive Officer of Banks Holdings Limited, Richard Cozier, who travelled to Trinidad yesterday (July 4) for a meeting with the Trinidad and Tobago Chemical, Food and Drug Agency, has brokered a deal that will see the Barbadian milk returning to Trinidadian shelves.

After returning home yesterday afternoon, Cozier told the media that authorities in Trinidad also agreed to allow the Barbados company to sell its existing “disputed” packaging of evaporated milk, fresh milk and flavoured milk, until it could change the labels.

In return, Cozier said Pine Hill Dairy (PHD) had agreed to change its “non-compliant” labelling within six months…

… continue reading this article at Caribbean360.com – Trade impasse between Barbados and TT over for now

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Economy, Trinidad and Tobago