Fri | Sep 22, 2017

UPDATED: CB Group to fly high with US$120m investment

Published:Sunday | August 20, 2017 | 8:00 AMChristopher Serju
Minister of Finance Audley Shaw (right) chats with Mark Haskins (centre), CB Group CEO; and Matthew Lyn, COO of the CB Group, at the groundbreaking for ‘The Nest’ last Friday.

The Caribbean Broilers (CB) Group is to invest US$120 million (approximately J$15 billion) over seven years to consolidate all its business operations in a single location at Hill Run, St Catherine, where it will house three independent operations - all functioning at first-world standards.

Dubbed 'The Nest' in homage to its poultry roots, the group's first hybrid growth centre, when completed, will house three independent operations and should substantially raise the bar, not only locally but regionally, in the areas of safety, research, technology, with an overall industry-first approach.

"It's a new concept for us. It's a different way of thinking - looking in-depth at the relationship between people, business and our environment. Our dream to change Jamaica is the reason why we've invited you here.

"Today, we break ground on our most ambitious project yet. Today, we start a new chapter in our history as we have embarked on a journey to change the face of agriculture in Jamaica forever," CB's Chief Operating Officer Matthew Lyn told the launch last Friday.

Declaring it a special time for the CB Group, Chief Executive Officer Mark Haskins admitted that achieving the targets under this ambitious project would be tough.

 

OPERATING STANDARDS

 

"We are ready to leap, explore amazing possibilities and to go where no other poultry company in the Caribbean has gone before. We're looking at our business model much differently and are more conscious of our environmental impact, where we have identified the very best technology to create hybrid facility that will raise our operating standards. We will look at waste water, and the economics of our new facility will be the most environmentally friendly in the Caribbean," said Haskins.

He noted that all three operations will be managed independently; they will be linked in terms of their environmental impact, which was a major consideration in terms of the conception and design of The Nest.

"Using the best-in-class technology and the best-in-class practices, we will look at reducing our footprint for our farming and our processing operation, and we'll play close, close attention to energy, water and waste," Haskins shared.

He pointed out that among the major environmental benefits will be reduced water usage, elimination of biological waste and more efficient energy use. Critical to the latter is a first-of-its-kind agreement being drafted with the Jamaica Public Service Company that CB promises will benefit both companies as well as the St Catherine public.

One of the game changers for CB will be the introduction of air chill technology, which is widespread in Europe and used by the most advanced poultry processing plants in the United States.

"This method brings the processed chicken down to a safe handling temperature, using purified cold air and not the hundreds of millions of litres of water we use today. It improves the chicken's meat quality and improves shelf life. Our new plant will also be bigger, faster and more advanced.

"Though air chill uses far less water, we still use a great deal of water for slaughtering, washing the chickens and ensuring equipment and facility are properly sanitised. So we've decided to erect a state-of-the-art waste water treatment plant, where every drop of water used will be treated and then recycled for irrigation at our Imagination Farms to nurture our own crops and the West Indian Sea Island Cotton that we proudly export to Switzerland and to Italy," said Haskins.

 

PROTEIN RECOVERY PLANT

 

The Nest will include a protein recovery plant where the blood, feathers and poultry guts will be processed and repurposed for other industries, including manufacturing for high-end energy pet foods for export. So none of these processing by-products will end up at the dump.

The livestock and research and development farm which now produces in excess of two and a half million chickens and 7,500 pigs each year has been operational for some time now.

The new world-class poultry-processing plant to be constructed over the next 24 months will allow for the relocation from the Arnold Road facility in the Corporate Area.

More than 500 acres will be dedicated to research and development to inform the activities of the new Imagination Farm, the company's foray into crop farming.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com

EDITOR'S NOTE: In a previous version of this article, comments made by Mark Haskins were incorrectly attributed to Matthew Lyn.)