CB breaks ground for $9-B poultry processing plantSunday, August 20, 2017
BY KARENA BENNETT
C aribbean Broilers Group (CB) will inject $9 billion into a state- of-the-art poultry processing plant over the next two years.
The investment forms part of a $15 billion project planned by the company over seven years.
From its Hill Run Farm in St Catherine, the CB Group plans to create a hybrid growth centre — dubbed the Nest — which will house a livestock research centre, over 500 acres of farm for its new crop division Imagination Farms and what the company terms as a 'world-class' poultry processing plant.
Currently, the Group operates a livestock research Centre on location, and has begun testing new equipment, feed rations and growing techniques to improve farm practices. The second operation, CB's Imagination Farms division, is still in the developmental stage and sees the company experimenting on onions, Scotch bonnet peppers and sweet corn in efforts to reduce market importation.
The chicken producer has also diversified into sorrel and West Indies Sea Island cotton specifically aimed at the export market.
But CB is most upbeat about the build out of the poultry processing plant, which it says will employ the finest technologies found throughout Europe and North America.
The larger, more efficient chicken processing plant is expected to enhance CB's current export numbers even as the company explores relationships with Caribbean countries that purchase the majority of their poultry meats outside of Caricom.
“Our productive capacity, we are going to be over 25 per cent more, but will allow the company to double production if required by the export market,” CB Group Director Matthew Lyn told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.
In fact, during the ground-breaking ceremony for the new plant, CB announced that it has sent its first batch of chickens to Dominica.
According to Lyn, the new processing plant will use air chill technology to cool the chickens, a variation from CB's current model of using water. The process will result in the company saving some 200 million litres of water annually, while water used by the company will be treated and stored in ponds for irrigation purposes.
“What happens today is that bird comes into our processing plant live and, after that bird is slaughtered and cleaned, the body temperature of the bird is still warm. What happens next is that the bird goes into this huge water bath that's kept cold to bring the temperature down. That's a very inefficient way for us to do things, especially as it relates to the environment — we are using so much water and we don't have to,” Lyn told Sunday Finance.
CB's Hybird Growth Centre is seen as a complete approach to its operations that not only considers its people and business, but also the environment.
While the three operations will be independent of each other from a business view point, they will rely on each other from an environmental perspective. The company has also reached a conceptual agreement with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to supply energy to the Nest.
Plans are also underway to invest in a Protein Recovery Plant, which will take biological by-products from processing operations and convert it into protein for the export market.