CARIB ROAD, Trelawny – CEO of Campbell’s Egg Farm, Mark Campbell, has ceased the slaughtering of chickens on his farm, and is expressing gratitude for the tremendous support from the public, which has allowed him to significantly reduce his stockpile of eggs.
The Jamaica Observer West reported last week, that the Trelawny-based farmer, who is a leading supplier of eggs to the hospitality sector, was faced with losses in the region of $100 million after the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the shuttering of hotels. With roughly 36,000 eggs in his inventory, Campbell was compelled to commence the slaughtering and dumping of the 38,000 birds he had on his farm. This, after giving away hundreds of the birds, and lukewarm sales of eggs at discounted price.
But, after the Observer West highlighted the plight of the farmer, members of the public rushed to his assistance.
Yesterday, Campbell disclosed that after his unfortunate situation was publicised, he was “so inundated with calls” that he had to shut down his cellphone after a warning on the screen indicated that the instrument was overheated.
Among the callers were politicians, including government ministers Audley Shaw and Daryl Vaz, and St James parliamentarian Heroy Clarke, who purchased eggs, which he included in care packages for his constituents.
On Monday, persons swooped down on the farm seeking to purchase eggs, as well as to request some of hundreds of birds being given free of cost, keeping Campbell, the few workers left on the farm, and volunteers from in and around the farm, actively engaged.
“The level of publicity, by the Observer and social media, that has been given to the dilemma in which I found myself, has really created a significant movement in my inventory. People from all over Jamaica have come here and have indicated that they have become aware of my situation and they want to assist in removing the inventory, and I am exceedingly grateful to the level of support from the Jamaican people,” said an appreciative Campbell.
“I am indebted to them for the compassion that they have shown. This thing has really brought out some positive attributes that the Jamaican people have in them. So, I am deeply moved by the outpouring of support.”
Such was the tremendous support, that on Monday, sales were aborted and the police called in, after eager customers ignored warnings to observe social distancing.
Sales, however, resumed the following day, in a more orderly fashion.
Campbell pointed out that the handing out of birds was also terminated on Tuesday, an agreement with two hotel groups was reached.
Meanwhile, due to the attention generated in the media, Campbell has been named among a group of egg farmers, who mostly rely on the hospitality sector for business, to benefit from an arrangement reached with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, to sell their surplus eggs on the grounds of ministry’s Hope Gardens, Kingston office.
State minister in the ministry, Floyd Green, in a post on his Twitter page, revealed that his ministry has engaged the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association in assisting egg farmers, including Campbell, with markets for their supplies.
“The intervention will be two-fold, the Government will be purchasing eggs and redistributing through our already established networks. Already, 25 cases (750 dozens) have been purchased from Mr Campbell,” Green posted on his Twitter page.
He did not disclose the other aspect of the intervention, and calls to his cellphone yesterday, went unanswered.
But, President of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association, Roy Baker, confirmed the partnership reached with the ministry.
“The surplus of eggs that we have among our farmers is mainly from those who supply the hotels. The association is working with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries to move those excess eggs, and we have actually worked out with the ministry to dock up some of our cold storage trucks Wednesday [yesterday] and Thursday [today] on the ministry’s compound at Hope Gardens, selling the eggs at a discounted price. It is discounted and the ministry has offered to supply some support to the farmers, so that at least they will have a break-even position,” Baker told the Observer West on Tuesday.
“We are hoping that the Government will assist us in promoting our campaign to encourage more persons to consume eggs by removing the 15 per cent GCT [General Consumption Tax] from eggs, and also the promotion, which we are launching with our main stakeholders,” Baker added.
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