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Over the past couple decades successive agriculture ministers have either imposed or threatened bans on food imports as a way of supporting Bahamian farmers. The unintended consequences of such actions were higher prices for what consumers believe are inferior products.
The Banana market of 1996 is a prime example of unintended consequences - for both producers and consumers. In a short period of time after government imposed a ban preventing imports to "help" the local banana growers, the foreign bananas were available from roadside vendors at higher prices. Consumers still preferred the large yellow imports to the variety offered by local growers.
In 2006 a threat to ban imported eggs was not implemented. Today food stores sell locally produced eggs as well as the more expensive imports.
The current minister of agriculture has threatened to impose a "ban on chicken imports" unless Bahamian wholesalers buy 30 percent of their chicken purchases locally.
As noted, there was no shortage of imported bananas during the ban in 1996 even at the higher prices. It is highly likely that foreign chickens will find their way into Bahamian households. In spite of a ban on imported chickens and bananas consumers seem to prefer the imports. It was suggested the imported chicken is less expensive so that's why people buy it. Yet, in the case of eggs, the imported product was more expensive and the consumer still purchased them. Price is a factor but not the only one when people decide how to spend their money.
For the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Agriculture, their time would be better spent determining why Bahamians prefer the imported chicken, why wholesalers buy it, and encouraging Bahamian farmers to promote their products.
Even if a government minister thinks he knows best, being elected to public office is not a mandate to use force to prevent or promote market action so long as it is peaceful.
Local farmers risk their own money to supply the markets. The successful ones find their niche and consumers buy their products. Instead of banning imports it is better to educate Bahamian consumers about the benefits of buying home grown products. Encourage high standards along with creative marketing like taste tests, and prove their product meets strict standards for safety.
It is unclear how the minister of agriculture can force a business to purchase a government specified percentage of its chicken inventory from the vendors he chooses. What happens if the chickens chosen by the minister do not sell? Does the minister intend reimbursing the merchants for their loss? Forcing businesses to make bad investments harkens back to the politburo of Soviet Russia.
Hopefully reason will prevail and the minister will use his soapbox to encourage people to buy local chicken instead of the threatening forceful tactics described in the proposed policy.
As the Nassau Institute pointed out in 2006, protection for some producers discriminates against others. It encourages other businesses to seek government assistance or worse, involvement in their particular enterprise.
There is a long history of costly failures when government interferes in markets. Sadly such failures never deter the newly elected from repeating the errors of their foregoers. It's all about politics.
- The Nassau Institute
AML Foods Limited
announced today that it has entered into agreements with its preference
shareholders to restructure its preference share debt. Under the terms
of the restructuring, the maturity date of the preference shares has
been extended from December 2015 to December 2022 and the interest rate
has been reduced from 8.0% to 7.25%. The new agreement is effective
January 1st, 2012.
In addition to the
restructuring of its existing debt, AML Foods Limited has issued a
further $4.28m of Class B preference shares, under the revised terms.
The funds will be used primarily to finance the Company's new franchise,
AML Foods Limited today
released financial results for its fourth quarter and its fiscal year
ended January 31, 2011 showing another profitable period for the group
with a 7.5% increase in sales.
Net profit of $1.4rn or 9 cents per share for the quarter compared to $l m or 6.5 cents per share for the prior year.
Sales of $25.8m for the quarter representing an increase of 7.5% over the corresponding quarter in 2009/ 10.
Net margin at 29.9% consistent with the previous
year of 29.7%. Selling, General & Administrative expenses increased
in dollar terms but
decreasing as a percentage of sales from 25.7% to 24.8%...
In January of this year we achieved a major H4H milestone by tapping into the great waste resource at the Nassau port: cruise ships! We excitedly report that Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has paved the way for other socially responsible cruiseliners to make donations. The best part about this partnership? It was spearheaded by the awesome NCL staff.
Freeport, Grand Bahama - Not just satisfied teaching a trade to Bahamians the management of Grand Bahama Shipyard Ltd. (GBS) is also guiding their apprentices to give back to their community.
Robin Hood Mega Store on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway recently partnered with Dr. Patti L. Symonette, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Wellness Center to provide parents with some helpful tips on making healthy lunch and snack choices when selecting food items for their children returning to school this new school year.
How many of you reading the paper this morning think about what you eat before you eat it? How about while you eat it?
How many of you have meat with every meal or twice a day? What are you eating now while you read this over breakfast – eggs? Cereal with over 7 grams of sugar per serving (and how many servings are in that bowl anyway?) A big glass of milk? Toasted white bread with butter? Egg McMuffin?
What's IN this stuff, anyway? Recently I made the decision to ask myself these questions: Why do we eat the way we do? How is it detrimental to our health? How can I change? It’s a scary thing to ask ourselves about our food. We may not realize it, but we’re addi ...
Over the past couple
decades successive Agriculture Ministers have either imposed or threatened bans
on food imports as a way of supporting Bahamian farmers. The unintended consequences
of such actions were higher prices for what consumers believe are inferior
The Banana market of 1996
is a prime example of unintended consequences - for both producers and
. In a short period of time
after government imposed a ban preventing imports to "help" the local banana
growers, the foreign bananas were available from road side vendors at higher
. Consumers still preferred the
large yellow imports to the variety...