Business

Local sales down, Sweet River Abattoir looks to expand exports

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Slaughterhouse Sweet River Abattoir & Supplies Company has committed to acquiring certification that will allow the company to export to Caricom and larger international communities.

Chairman of the company, Henry Graham, in a message to shareholders said Sweet River is now looking to achieve world standards such as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point certification and the quality assurance policy GMB ISO. Ultimately, Sweet River Abattoir hopes to become a First World facility and targets achieving the standards by 2018.

Graham reckons that the exporting of products, even at the regional level, will help smooth out demand, especially during the summer months when school is out and the demand for pork is significantly reduced.

Sweet River reported a modest turnaround for its fourth quarter ending May 2017, despite challenges in investing in its facility. The company recently commissioned its new plant after shutting down operations for approximately five weeks to move the equipment to the new location.

In a just-released annual report, Sweet River Abattoir reported a 17 per cent decline in sales for the financial year 2016-2017, down from an increase of 77 per cent produced a year earlier. The company blamed the decline on pork prices being lower than expected for the past two years.

Nonetheless, there was steady improvement in the supply of pigs to meet the demand for pork, which contributed to the company reporting net profit after tax of $1,385,673 when compared to a net loss of $5,530,846 during the period 2015-2016.

“Because of the increasing demand of pork, major markets have expressed interest in providing contracts in order to maintain the consistency of pork supplies. More farmers have also been engaged to supply contracts to Sweet River Abattoir,” Graham told shareholders.

He highlighted ongoing training to be tied into three-year renewal contracts with farmers and similar contracts for major markets as strategies for the year 2017 and beyond. Sweet River Abattoir will also undertake a tripartite approach for more strategic growth and development.

“We are confident that next financial year will be better than financial year 2016-2017, as we are positively seeking to increase our market share. We are also excited about the prospects of the slaughtering of small ruminants to add more variety to our product offering,” Graham said.

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