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Jamaica Broilers pumps $14m into new hatchery

Published:Friday | January 15, 2016 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
The headquarters of Jamaica Broilers Group Limited in St Catherine.

Jamaica Broilers Limited has invested $14 million in the rehabilitation of the Cumberland Hatchery, previously operated by the Jamaica Livestock Association.

The 25,000-square-foot facility has the capacity to produce 625,000 baby chicks monthly or 7.5 million annually, the company said.

"The baby chicks will go into the same distribution channel as our hatchery that's located at White Marl," senior vice-president of operations and finance, Ian Parsard, told the Financial Gleaner.

"We are supplementing the supply of baby chicks by about 12 per cent. In terms of chicken meat production, the amount of chicks that we can produce here will equate to roughly 400,000 kilograms of chicken product each week," Parsard said.

The hatchery adds 20 per cent to capacity, from a base of 2 million kilograms of poultry per week, he said.

With 200,000 chicks hatched per week, this translates to a 22 per cent lift of national output weekly, the company said.

The Cumberland hatchery will be operated under lease by JBL, which also has an option to buy.

"We got into an arrangement with the family of the late Henry Rainford. It's for a couple of years and we do have an option to purchase, so that is something that we are going to be looking at extensively as well," he said, hinting that the company may look to fully acquire the property.

"We will be operating it mainly to supply baby chicks not only to ourselves and our contract farmers, but also to the over 10,000 independent farmers who grow chickens across the length and breadth of Jamaica," Parsard said.

Jamaica Broilers' investment comes against the backdrop of increased demand for poultry coming off the peak Christmas season.

Incidentally, 2015 was a record year in poultry production totalling 112.4 million kilograms. Production in 2014 grew 17 per cent to 109.8 million kilograms produced.

Such production numbers have not been seen since 2007 and 2008, when output stood at 106.6 million kilograms and 106.2 million kilograms, respectively.