Jamaica Broilers Invests $300m in New Plant13 May 2013
JAMAICA - The Jamaica Broilers Group has invested more than $300 million to construct a new processing plant at Spring Village, St Catherine, to relocate its Further Processing Facility from Content, Bog Walk, in the parish.
Senior vice-president of operations and finance at Jamaica Broilers, Ian Parsard, said the facility at Bog Walk is being occupied by an entity in the seafood industry that has a five-year lease and an offer of the option to buy before the lease expires.
"The property at Bog Walk is a very good processing facility still and there are some folks in the seafood industry that we have actually signed a lease agreement with, with an option for them to purchase and we are very hopeful that they will be able to take over the facility before the lease expires," Mr Parsard told the Financial Gleaner during a tour of the new processing plant on Wednesday.
He said most of the funds for the new facility were generated internally and a small amount of debt was taken on to make up for the shortfall.
Mr Parsard noted that the new 22,000-square-foot facility more than double the 10,000 square feet that the company previously occupied at Bog Walk.
In addition, Mr Parsard said, the investment has helped to safeguard the jobs of more than 50 workers directly.
The company said the plant is internationally certified in ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards, demonstrating "firm commitment to sound environmental and quality management practices".
Mr Parsard said this investment shows the company's commitment to provide "wholesome quality products" to the consuming public at reasonable cost.
He said the move has helped them to realise gains, especially since they are now able to save on electricity as the plant operates on power accessed from Jamaica Broilers' own power-generating plant.
"The expanded Best Dressed Further Processing Facility is yet another significant investment by Jamaica Broilers Group in the manufacturing industry, an indication of the company's support for the Government's efforts to save foreign currency through increased local food production," the company said in a release.
"It also signals the group's commitment to doing its part to stimulate economic growth and its confidence in the future of the Jamaican economy," the release said.
The new facility has the capability to manufacture value-added protein products, with additional production capacity to meet the growing and diversified needs of its consumers.
The facility is configured to facilitate multiple products being produced in designated areas, in conformance to standard operating procedures that meet regulatory requirements.
"The facility at Bog Walk was smaller and we are growing. And what we are doing is not just processing beef. We were doing beef, fish, chicken and pork, and it is very important from a health standpoint and a safety standpoint that you have enough space to do proper segregation and so on," Mr Parsard said.
In addition, Mr Parsard said the expanded new facility has poised Jamaica Broilers to be able to produce pouch-packaged items, such as chicken nuggets that are currently being imported into Jamaica, as well as replace some of the products it used to import with locally manufactured ones.
Further, he said the expansion will help with the company's export thrust.
"Currently, we are working with one of our large customers that have operations across the Caribbean to basically help us to do some exporting in those regions," he said. "Our vet is coordinating with the other vet divisions in those countries ... everything is at a delicate stage of negotiations right now," he added.
Mr Parsard said there are several other plans in the pipeline which the company expects to build out over a five-year period, but they are all at a stage that is too sensitive to publicly divulge information about them at this time.
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