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Go-Ahead Given for Community Chicken Project

by 5m Editor
15 June 2009, at 8:20a.m.

JAMAICA - A major chicken rearing project is planned for North East St Elizabeth.

Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North East, Kern Spencer said a major chicken-rearing project – which is expected to generate income for hundreds of people in his constituency — would be implemented as soon as the first allocation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was released later this month.

Jamaica Observer reports that work is expected to be completed in less than two months on a centralised slaughter house and a cold storage facility to facilitate this project.

Mr Spencer noted that having a centralised area would ensure consistency in quality and allow the local poultry farmers to compete with major brands.

"The local supply of chicken meat has been neglected because they (the market) don't want to buy chickens over four pounds and there has to be consistency in quality – such as no feathers or torn flesh – and so this is why they prefer to buy from Best Dressed and Caribbean Broilers," he said. He added, however, that under this project the quality of the locally produced poultry will be on par.

Through this project, he said some 200 large farmers in the constituency would be given more than 250 birds each, while smaller poultry farmers would receive between 50 and 150 birds, depending on their capacity.

Additionally, the MP said the farmers would also receive feed and medication and would be responsible for rearing the birds for already identified markets.

Mr Spencer explained to Jamaica Observer that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the implementing agency, will assist with quality control and help to monitor the farmers in best practices for chicken rearing.

Once the birds reach maturity, Mr Spencer said, they would be taken to a centralised slaughter house. He said RADA would also be responsible for ensuring that the income farmers receive from the sale of the initial allocation of birds would be re-invested in buying more birds, feed and medication.

He said the project would target the entire constituency but the focus would be on those communities located closest to the facility in Elim.

Mr Spencer told the newspaper that income-generating projects were especially necessary for the constituency because a number of residents had been adversely affected by the recent fall-out in bauxite, the raw material for aluminium.

Among other income-generating projects, according to Mr Spencer, was the allocation of Nubian goats to farmers under a revolving project. He said that since the start of the project in January, some farmers had received between one and five nanny goats. Their offspring, he said, would be given to other farmers in the constituency.

Mr Spencer went on to describe progress on a range of other projects in his constituency to Jamaica Observer.