Business

Best Dressed in French

By Nekiesha Reid Business reporter

Friday, July 20, 2012    

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Jamaica Broilers (JB) has started processing Haitian grown chickens.

Initially set up to supply chicks and feed to the Caribbean country, Haiti Broilers has been producing its own chicken over the last three months.

And more recently, the company has been selling live birds for eating and local broilers under the brand "Le Chic Poulet".

"Indication that the support for local haitian chicken is good," said JB's vice president of finance Ian Parsard. "So if it grows, we are going to grow processing with it."

Haiti Broilers was established a little over a year ago and has demanded a US$10 million ($890 million) investment to date.

The development reflects a revival of an industry that ground to a halt nearly 20 years ago.

"Haiti had an established poultry industry that was destroyed by the embargo in the early nineties," said JB's vice president of finance Ian Parsard. "The industry still exists but in a very informal and loose way with farmers using methods not utilised for 30 years."

Training, therefore, included teaching farmers about processing techniques used today.

"Technical training has been provided to a significant cross section of farmers," he said. "One-on-one sessions and seminars were held to train farmers in all aspects of chicken husbandry."

To date, 35 people have been employed by the company.

"We've been really well-received," said CEO Christopher Levy, adding that the new venture has created a "great dynamic" at JB.

Levy describes Haiti Broilers as a medium-term investment, which Parsard said is expected to see profit within this financial year.

The subsidiary also offers ready-to-lay pullets and table eggs.

Jamaica's proximity to and historical relationship with the earthquake-stricken country are two reasons JB decided to set up shop in Haiti, Parsard said.

Haiti's 10 million population and "guidance from God" also contributed to the decision to expand to that country.

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