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Jamaica Broilers Buys 1,700 Acres for Future Plans

by 5m Editor
31 January 2012, at 8:49am

JAMAICA - Jamaica's largest poultry producer Jamaica Broilers, has purchased 1,700 acres of land in Spring Garden, St Catherine in order to facilitate a number of initiatives it has in the works.

Speaking with Sunday Finance Jamaica Broilers' Vice President of Finance and Energy Ian Parsard said: "We have purchased 1,700 acres of land in Spring Garden, St Catherine which adjoins our chicken processing plant. The purchase price came in at around US$2.5 million ($216 million). Of the 1,700 acres about 1,000 acres are arable lands so there is a lot of potential there. There is a residential community in close proximity to our plant and this purchase creates a buffer around it which is mutually beneficial to the residents and to our operations."

Jamaica Broiler's chicken processing plant has been around for over four decades and this latest acquisition gives it the option to expand the plant and its operations. It also has a co-generation plant which produces electricity for supply to the chicken plant and also to the national grid.

Speaking with Sunday Finance Jamaica Broilers' Vice President of Finance and Energy Ian Parsard said: "We have purchased 1,700 acres of land in Spring Garden, St Catherine which adjoins our chicken processing plant. The purchase price came in at around US$2.5 million ($216 million). Of the 1,700 acres about 1,000 acres are arable lands so there is a lot of potential there. There is a residential community in close proximity to our plant and this purchase creates a buffer around it which is mutually beneficial to the residents and to our operations."

Jamaica Broiler's chicken processing plant has been around for over four decades and this latest acquisition gives it the option to expand the plant and its operations. It also has a co-generation plant which produces electricity for supply to the chicken plant and also to the national grid, according to Jamaica Observer.

Mr Parsard pointed out that in Jamaica and the Caribbean, chicken is the largest portion of livestock consumption by far. He notes that the region enjoyed a surplus up to 1990 but since then has experienced a deficit and the indications are that it will continue to do so.

The company, headed by Christopher Levy has made a foray into Haiti in an effort to address the shortfall of chicken meat exacerbated by the earthquake that ravished Haiti's capital city Port-au-Prince in 2010. Here it has launched a joint venture with a Haitian partner to provide feed, chicks, pullets, equipment and technical advice to Haitian poultry farmers. The initial investment is reported to be between US$2 and 3 billion and work is underway to establish a distribution network.

Speaking at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Investments&C apital Markets Conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston last week, Mr Parsard said: "A careful look shows that since 2007 the poultry industry in Jamaica has not grown while the level of imports has increased by 50 per cent. We all have a part to play in securing our food requirements, private individuals, companies and government policy."

He went on to add that an option being considered is extending the plant and by utilising this additional land, Jamaica Broilers will be in a better position to expand the poultry industry and facilitate the needs of not just Jamaica but the wider Caribbean.

Another option the Jamaica Broilers Vice President outlined was the possibility of establishing a solar field. The group has gone into the energy business first with its co-generation plant in Spring Village, St Catherine and secondly with a US$20 million ethanol plant located at Port Esquivel in St Catherine. This plant initially had a capacity of 60 million gallons per year of fuel grade ethanol.

For the financial year ended April 2011, Jamaica Broilers saw its profits fall more than 27 per cent to $956 million from $1.3 billion in the prior year. The company said the major contributor to the decline was the reduction in activity at its ethanol plant and the high cost of corn and energy.

"We have been pressing the relevant minister of government and the OUR for years to conclude the arrangements relative to the wheeling of power without success. Wheeling of power involves the production of electricity at one location and using it as an offset for electricity consumed at another location, in our case the feed mill or hatchery, and paying a fee for the use of the distribution lines.