Business

Sweet River inks feed deal with Hi-Pro

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 15, 2014    

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SWEET River Abattoir will exclusively supply half of its contracted pig farmers with Hi-Pro feeds over the next six months.

The new agreement with the Jamaica Broilers' subsidiary will also see the Westmoreland-based slaughterhouse supply the food processor with fresh pork.

Currently, ten contracted farmers provide Sweet River Abattoir with 15,000 pigs yearly. The farmers who use the Hi-Pro feed can lower the cost of raising a pig by up to 30 per cent, according to Valdence Gifford.

The managing director of Sweet River estimates that feed represents 80 per cent of the cost of pig rearing.

"It is a win-win situation for both organisations," Gifford told the Jamaica Observer.

Farmers will be able to cut their cost of production and Jamaica Broilers will be able to get cheaper pork and higher revenue from the additional supply of pigs.

Hi-Pro will also provide the abattoir's farmers with nutritional advice and veterinary support, along with access to pharmaceutical support and farm supplies through Hi-Pro Farm Supplies Store and the Hi-Pro Ace Supercentre.

At the end of the first six months, the contract will be reviewed.

Sweet River Abattoir yesterday opened its initial public offering, from which it hopes to raise $180 million. The offer will run for two weeks from August 12 to 26.

"The funds will be used to complete construction, for working capital, to pay down a portion of our debt and to invest in alternative energy," Gifford said.

Construction of the 12,000 square- foot state-of-the-art abattoir also nears completion, he added.

With the new facility, the abattoir will meet all international quality standards and will facilitate the company's long anticipated entry into the pork exportation market.

The facility will also allow for an increase in production capacity from the current 120 pigs per day to between 250 and 300 pigs per day, as well as engaging in the production of mutton and the goat meat -- chevon.

Additionally, the Government, through the Agro Investment Corporation (AIC) is now seeking to invest up to $80 million in the abattoir come November.

"The Government is interested in using us as one of the regional abattoirs to slaughter pigs, sheep and goats under hygienic conditions," Gifford said.

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