Thu | Jul 18, 2019

Sweet River, Hi-Pro ink feed supply deal for pig farmers

Published:Friday | August 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Hi-Pro Divisional Sales and Marketing Manager Daren Lawrence (left) and chairman of Sweet River Abattoir, Henry Graham. - Contributed

The Sweet River Abattoir & Supplies Company Limited has struck a deal with the Hi-Pro Division of Jamaica Broilers Group to exclusively distribute feed to pig farmers who supply the meat company.

Sweet River currently buys about 15,000 pigs for slaughter per year.

Conley Salmon, Jamaica Broilers' vice-president in charge of marketing feeds and agricultural supplies, said the terms of the agreement signed on August 8 were confidential.

"As you can understand, the matter of the price per bag of pig feed negotiated with Sweet River Abattoir is a confidential matter and is based on special diet regimes requested, with the aim of producing high-quality pork at a competitive price," he said.

The feed-supply agreement announced this week is an extension of Jamaica Broilers and Sweet River's business partnership. The meat company supplies pork to Broilers.

Efforts to reach Sweet River's managing director, Valdence Gifford, were unsuccessful. In the joint statement by the companies, Gifford said feed represented 70 per cent of the cost of raising pigs and that the contracted pig farmers should realise savings from the Hi-Pro supply arrangement.

Sweet River itself supplies fresh pork to Jamaica Broilers, a business arrangement touted in the prospectus for its IPO that opened for subscription on Tuesday at $3.86 per share.

Sweet River is seeking to raise $180 million via the junior stock market. The money will be used both for working capital and to retire debt used to finance the ongoing construction of a new state-of-the-art processing facility.

Salmon said Hi-Pro will be working with Sweet River's pig suppliers to develop "unique diets designed to get the best results, given the grow-out conditions and genetic capability of the animals. In fact, pigs tend to convert at about 1.8 pounds of feed to one pound of meat," he said. "However, this varies based on a number of factors such as animal health and genetics, as well as the farmer's skills."

The pork that Jamaica Broilers buys from Sweet River is used in the poultry company's Hamilton's Smoke House line of products. Hamilton's was acquired by Jamaica Broilers in 2013.

Daren Lawrence, divisional sales and marketing manager at Hi-Pro, said the feed company will give the pig farmers nutritional advice, veterinary support to assist in herd health management, as well as pharmaceutical support and farm supplies.

It was noted in the statement that Sweet River, which plans to expand its export markets, is seeking HACCP, ISO and US Department of Agriculture certifications.

"We have already had two site inspections by representatives of the US Department of Agriculture, and, on certification, our slaughter facilities will be the first of its kind in the island," Gifford said.