UPDATED: Jamaica Broilers invests US$2m in feed facility
The decision by the Jamaica Broilers Group to invest US$2 million in an additional pellet mill at its Best Dressed feed facility in Old Harbour, St Catherine, is a ringing endorsement of its confidence in the growth potential of the economy, Christopher Levy, president and chief executive officer, disclosed yesterday.
"Jamaica Broilers has had to invest to keep pace with the growth that we're expecting and experiencing. We've grown reasonably well in the poultry industry. We've grown reasonably well in the feed industry, but when you put it all together, we've grown awesomely well in the country," he admitted during the formal commissioning of the new mill.
These achievements by the group have had a positive impact on the national effort to achieve food and nutrition security, with Jamaica now self-sufficient in poultry and pork production, with another animal protein source also showing impressive growth, Levy said.
"What has been happening with eggs is nothing short of a miracle. We are at about two eggs a week per person. That's almost a doubling of consumption of eggs," he said.
However, despite this, the average consumption of eggs by Jamaicans is still well below that of their Caribbean neighbours.
Levy went on to point out the importance of the pellet feed mill, which is the largest of the three onsite, as well as in the Caribbean. It has the potential to move the production of Hi-Pro feeds from 270,000 tonnes per annum to 350,000 tonnes and doubles the production capacity from 40 to 80 tonnes per hour.
"It all starts here with animal feed because this is where raw vegetable protein is converted into digestible protein, and a feed mill of this size is a real indicator of what's happening in the agricultural sector as it relates to animals. It's exciting, and it's not to be taken for granted," he said, adding that it was not always smooth sailing. "It's agriculture. You have up years, you have down years, good times, bad times, but on a whole, it's very, very exciting what's happening in the animals sector. Yes, they're challenges, but you have to work through those."
The Jamaica Broilers Group CEO also pointed to developments in the dairy industry, which signals another positive for the livestock sector.
"We see it growing, we see structure coming back to it - consumption happening. We see the conversation happening around breeds, and again, it shows the direction of the country and what's happening in the agricultural sector," he said.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that production capacity had been moved from 40,000 to 80,000 tonnes.)