JAS bats for locally produced 'bully beef' ... Says it could stimulate livestock industry
The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) is fully supportive of a recent announcement by GraceKennedy Limited that it is considering producing its own corned beef locally, instead of continuing its reliance on overseas suppliers.
In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, JAS president, Senator Norman Grant, said the establishment of a local corned beef processing industry would fall in line with the national 'Eat What You Grow' campaign and cut the nation's importation of corned beef, 99.5 per cent of which is sourced from Brazil.
"The JAS is very concerned that we are importing so much corned beef," said Grant. "We launched the 'Eat What You Grow' campaign in 2003, and one of the major objectives was to produce all that we can produce locally, so let the record reflect that the JAS congratulates GraceKennedy for taking this game-changing initiative, and I am sure that it is the beginning of a process that can transform the local livestock industry."
He continued, "I would go further and ask that the Government provide support in partnership with the private sector to do this, because it would certainly help to spearhead the growth and development of the cattle and dairy industry, and the entire livestock industry. A corned beef processing plant in Jamaica would mean that we know exactly what is going into our corned beef, and it would certainly be a lot healthier."
Last week, Don Wehby, GraceKennedy's chief executive officer, said his company would be looking at producing its own local corned beef at its Westmoreland-based processing plant, which produces several meat products such as Vienna sausages, frankfurters and picnic hams.
The Jamaican Government recently ended a two-week ban on corned beef imported from Brazil, which was imposed following news that several processing plants in the South American country were under investigation for allegedly using rotten meat in its products over a number of years.
"The situation in Brazil certainly created a big opportunity for Jamaican farmers and the economy. There are some processing plants that are empty, and we can look at those plants as a beginning step and ensure that we use the bad example in Brazil to create a vibrant and sustainable industry for Jamaica," said Grant.