Jamaica Broilers making strides in Haiti
Six years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, the country's agriculture sector is bouncing back and a Jamaican company has been very instrumental in that aspect of its recovery.
"Having gone into production for four years now and gone through the phase of testing the market initially, then into production, growing and expanding, we are in a good position. We are now profitable in Haiti and the prospects in terms of returns look promising," Conley Salmon, vice-president, marketing, feeds and agricultural supplies, Jamaica Broilers Group, told The Sunday Gleaner last Thursday.
The company had gone into the earthquake-ravaged French-speaking Caribbean country in 2010 with the intention of selling baby chicks, broiler meat, feeds and other inputs, now it's producing and selling six million table eggs per month.
Not quite along the lines of its original business plan but Jamaica Broilers is happy with how things have turned out. Fashioned on its very successful Jamaican model, the Haitian poultry operations is also built along the vertical integrate system - hatchery, feed mill, processing facility, and a farm with 250,000 layers in production, as well as table eggs.
Dave Fairman, president, Haiti S.A., pointed out the tweaking that was necessary to achieve success on Haitian soil.
"Our model there is slightly different. We actually have what we call the retail segment and the farmer segment. The farmer segment is where we focus on selling chicks and feed and supplies to small farmers, and we sell most of those inputs through distributors across the country.
"So we have about 120 distributors across the country, which are all Haitian-owned businesses. So that's how we provide access to the inputs because the small farmers, the biggest problem for them is access, so we establish the network in order for them to lower the cost to access the inputs and to make sure it's reliable," said Fairman.
For the retail segment, Jamaica Broilers produces a Haitian equivalent of the Best Dressed Chicken, which it markets under the brand Le Chic Poulet.
"It's the same brand logo we use there and we basically have a contract buy-back programme with small farmers whereby we provide them with the inputs. We sell them the inputs - chicks and feed - and we have an agreement to take back those birds.
"We process them and provide a market for them. So we sell that bird in the supermarkets, whether it's whole chicken or in parts - breasts, wings, parts, just like here, and then we have the other segment where we do our own table eggs."
EGG MARKET REALITY
Egg sales continue to run ahead of the demand for broiler meat, a trend which caught Jamaica Broilers off guard, but they were quick to flip the script, to address this market reality.
Ian Parsard, senior vice-president, finance and corporate planning, explained: "When we went over there it wasn't eggs as the main business we were thinking of, it was chicks and feed and getting into chicken. However, after being on the ground we realised the real potential was in table eggs, so we started to switch the focus on growing the table egg business, which continues to outstrip broiler meat consumption."