The sign justified this price by the cost of transporting the goods, but the deputy Gabriel Serville points out the few measures applied to fight against the high cost of living in the Antilles, where the prices are on average 12% higher than in mainland France (and up to 38% in Martinique).
It all started with a photo shared on a social network. On Twitter, the deputy of Guyana Gabriel Serville denounced, Thursday, January 16, the exorbitant price of an organic free-range chicken imported by plane and sold for 51.41 euros in Saint-Martin, in the West Indies. “Hello @ULesCommercants. Don’t we have breeding sectors in the #Antilles #Guyana to import chickens by plane charged at 51 euros while 20% of West Indians and 45% of Guyanese live on less than 420 euros per month?the MP is surprised in his tweet, which has gone viral.
“But who pays 51 euros for the chicken? Even already roasted it does not cost 51 euros in mainland France”asks a user. “Chicken at that price, hope it was business class with a glass of champagne on the plane”responds another.
A chicken at 10.75 euros per kilo in mainland France
“The explanation for this price is unfortunately simple: there is no local production, and organic chickens are chickens that fly,” a System U spokesperson told AFP on Friday. “This chicken, in mainland France, is sold for 10.75 euros per kg, but when it is transported by air, the kg of goods costs 12 euros to transport, so for a 2 kg chicken we arrive at a price of 45 euros, plus taxes, marketing costs and the merchant’s margin. Hence a final price of 51 euros”he added.
“This price may seem exorbitant, continues the spokesperson, but there are people who come to St-Martin, who want to find imported organic products and are ready to pay this price. (…) Customers have taken this habit and ask us for these products”, he assures. On the Caribbean island, his brand also offers “chickens at much lower prices, transported by sea and frozen, coming from France”, argues the spokesperson.
A bill for more local productions not applied
The price of this chicken illustrates the problem of the high cost of living in the West Indies. “In March, I wrote to Edouard Philippe to ask for concrete action to fight against the high cost of living while supermarkets are stuffing themselves with margins of up to 55% on everyday consumer products in the Antilles Guyana. No answer”, adds Gabriel Serville in another tweet. According to the MP, a bill was passed in 2012 to make it compulsory for all supermarkets to reserve a place for local productions but, according to him, it is not applied. “in the absence of an implementing decree”.
Last July, the competition authority pointed out that prices were on average 12% higher than in mainland France and even 19% (Mayotte) to 38% (Martinique) higher for food products alone.