Jamaican turkey takes off

Turkey farmers gobble up Christmas

Observer writer

Sunday, December 24, 2017

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Several farmers who were supplied with turkey poults -- a move that sought to satisfy the growing demand locally -- are reporting brisk sales for the Yuletide season. A total of 5,000 poults were distributed to the public by Newport Mills in June and September of this year.

Several local farmers are involved in turkey farming and growing anywhere from less than 10 turkeys all the way to hundreds of the festive birds.

Manchester farmer Skemar Brady is upbeat about the overwhelming response to the smoked and raw turkey that she sold to housewives and supermarkets in Kingston, Manchester and Clarendon.

“I received 40 turkeys in total. I gave away two and lost six. All the others that I had have been sold,” said Brady.

She continued, “The reception has been very good, I haven't heard any complaints from anyone. If I had more, I would have sold a lot more because it has been very profitable for me.”

Asked how she made the public aware of the turkeys that she reared, Brady stated that she relied solely on social media.

“I have been making posts on social media about it since June, and people began making their orders since then.”

Farmer Kedisha Barrett from Southfield, St Elizabeth ventured into turkey production for the first time, and she too has reaped rewards.

“My experience has been great because I have sold a good amount to supermarkets and people around the community. I have even had repeat customers”, said Barrett.

According to Dr Gabrielle Young, Livestock and Support Manager at Newport Mills, a division of the GB Group, consumers prefer locally grown turkey.

“Turkey meat has been in high demand due to its protein composition and connotation of festivities”, she said.

She added, “Turkeys have a distinct flavour and they are five times the size of chicken. As it relates to meat quality, turkey is a leaner meat, and if you want a healthier diet, turkey would be the preferred choice to consume. It also has a different amino-acid profile when compared to chicken.”

The company already has plans to double turkey production for 2018. It is hoped that with even better marketing, imported turkeys will be a thing of the past in Jamaica. Locally grown turkeys provide income for small farmers, who insist that there is also a market for the product outside of the Christmas season.

Through its Nutramix brand, Newport Mills Limited manufactures and distributes a specific feed for turkeys.




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