Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Jamaica Broilers Group has commissioned a third pellet mill at its feed mill at Freetown, St. Catherine. The US$2 million investment will increase the production capacity to 350,000 tonnes per year, making the facility the largest feed mill in the region.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony last Thursday, Christopher Levy, president of chief executive officer of company said: “The growth in the local poultry and egg industries begins with good quality animal feed. And the Hi-Pro pellet mill is where vegetable protein is converted into digestible protein so farmers can grow healthy animals.”

He noted that the dairy industry was also growing with the conversation around breeds and better production.

“This shows that the agricultural sector cannot be taken for granted. Farmers are the backbone of this country as they provide more employment than any other sector. Therefore, our mission at Jamaica Broilers is to seek to facilitate the sustainability of the island’s small farmers, because when the farmers grow, we grow,” Levy said.

Levy said that Jamaica Broilers Group was now a multi-billion dollar operation producing 10-thousand chickens a week, moving to 12,000 birds a day. But he pointed out that the company’s core business remains in Jamaica.

Over the past five years, sales of Hi-Pro chicks and broiler feeds have increased by about 20 per cent, with layer feeds having grown by 10 per cent. Currently Hi-Pro has about 60 per cent market share of all feeds sold in Jamaica.

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Jamaica Broilers Group has acquired a second hatchery in the United States, which is expected to grow its hatching capacity by 40 per cent.

Previously operating as Bell & Evans Hatchery, in Big Valley, Pennsylvania, the new facility will be renamed International Poultry Breeders Hatchery Inc.

The acquisition was effective on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.

In making the announcement, Christopher Levy, group president and CEO of the Jamaica Broilers Group, said the investment was made primarily to enable the group to access a larger customer base, including new clients on the east coast of the USA and Canada.

He said the new facility would reduce any bio-security risk factors faced by his company’s customers.

Currently, Jamaica Broilers Group has to truck baby chicks from its International Poultry Breeders Hatchery in Iowa to the east coast.

The facility in Pennsylvania will reduce delivery mileage by an average of 500 to 600 miles.

“This investment will position the Jamaica Broilers Group to respond to the needs of our expanded customer base and facilitate growth in the USA and Canada,” said Levy.

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Jamaica Broilers Group has donated tools, equipment and supplies valued at about $1 million to the Jamaica Defence Force’s contingent which left the island this week for Dominica to assist storm-ravaged neighbours.

In addition, the Group will be shipping food items and clothing over the next few weeks, valued millions of dollars, to selected islands in the region to assist hurricane victims.

“We see it as our responsibility to help those who have been affected and this is just the start of the support we intend to give our Caribbean neighbours who have been dislocated and are without food, water and basic amenities,” said Conley Salmon, president – Jamaica Operations, Jamaica Broilers Group.

“I want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for its quick and positive response to our request for an export permit to allow us to ship relief supplies of food, including Best Dressed Chicken products,” he continued.

“We are also in discussion with our customers who have been left destitute, to see how we may assist them individually. Jamaica has benefited from the kindnesses of people around the world when we have been affected by storms and hurricanes, so it is our turn to show God’s love and care.

“Our members of staff locally and regionally will be playing their part by conducting a clothing drive to assist the hurricane victims. This is how we intend to show love to our neighbours,” Salmon said.

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The Best Dressed Chicken, a coordinator of the ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ Cleanup Network recently partnered with Wisynco Eco Club and Citibank to host a beach clean-up with over 200 volunteers at the Old Harbour Bay Fishing Village.

At sunrise, the team descended on the fishing village, equipped with shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, and other tools dedicated to their mission. From plastic bags and bottles to Styrofoam containers and clogged gutters, the volunteers spared no effort removing garbage from the beach which is occupied by more than 150 vendors and workers.

"Old Harbour Bay is vital to the economic and social life of many people. It's also the community that The Best Dressed Chicken calls home. It was important for us to lead the cleanup, and also hopefully, inspire change for the future care of the beach,” said Joan Forrest-Henry, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, The Best Dressed Chicken.

Together with residents, the volunteers worked with high energy throughout the morning. In the end, the appreciation for their efforts was evident in the expressions of gratitude from the many people who live and work on the beach. Camille Cheese, President of the Old Harbour Bay Community Development Association, noted that limited resources often hinder the effectiveness of the community's cleanup efforts. “When we get outside support we have a much better result. We are truly thankful that The Best Dressed Chicken has shown such interest in us and gathered so many people who have dedicated their time to help us care for the place that gives us our livelihood,” she said.

The cleanup project also had a legacy component with The Best Dressed Chicken donating garbage drums to facilitate recycling. Lackesha Pitter, Sponsorship and Promotions Coordinator, The Best Dressed Chicken, said she was pleased with the turnout as well as the results, “We all know the saying, 'a rising tide lifts all boats'. What we did today was very empowering for everyone who participated. We are happy that our partners believed in this project as much as we did."

The beach cleanup follows a series of consultations with the Old Harbour Bay residents and aligns with the environmental sustainability approach of The Best Dressed Chicken’s parent company Jamaica Broilers.

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The Jamaica Broilers Group has divested its JB Terminal operations at Port Esquivel to West Indies Petroleum Limited for US$4 million in cash and the takeover of US$18.5 million in liabilities owed to Jamaica Broilers Group.

West Indies Petroleum Limited provides bunkering services to ships which call in Jamaican ports.

The sales agreement was signed today between representatives of the Jamaica Broilers Group, West Indies Petroleum Limited and UC Rusal, operators of Windalco, which manages Port Esquivel.

The sale includes ERI Services (St. Lucia) Limited as well as its 100 per cent owned subsidiary JB Terminal (Port Esquivel) Limited which operated the group’s ethanol business and tank farm at Port Esquivel.

“This sale means that JBG is now fully aligned with our strategic plan to focus on our integrated poultry operations and to grow our business in Jamaica, Haiti and the USA. Also, we will release fixed assets from our balance sheet which was not operating at its full potential. In addition, we will have an infusion of cash and other assets which will further boost JBG’s extremely strong balance sheet,” said Ian Parsard, senior vice president of finance and operations at Jamaica Broilers Group.

He noted that the sale is not expected to have a significant impact - negatively or positively - on the group’s profit and loss account.

“When the investment is assessed over the period from 2005 to now, it shows a positive return to our shareholders on their investment.” Parsard noted.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Charles Chambers, director of West Indies Petroleum Limited, described the sale as “a tremendous transaction between his company, the Jamaica Broilers Group, UC Rusal and Windalco”.

He said the negotiations were held over an extended period, but the acquisition was the right fit for his company to be one of the main players in bunkering in Jamaica, the region and internationally.

Chambers said currently West Indies Petroleum Limited fuels cruise ships which call at the ports on the north coast. However, the current acquisition will allow for the refueling of larger cruise liners such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean, as well as large container ships such as Zim.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, who participated in the signing, endorsed the divestment, pointing out that it will broaden the reach of the Jamaican refueling company, especially with the opening of the upgraded Panama Canal and the expected increase in the number of ships passing through the Jamaican shores.

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It’s never too late for a shower of rain. This old adage is most appropriate for the Freetown Primary School in Clarendon due to the efforts of the Jamaica Broilers Group and its subsidiaries Hi-Pro and Best Dressed Chicken.

As its marquee Labour Day project, the Jamaica Broilers family – 60 of them to be precise – undertook a massive renovation exercise of the learning institution. Twenty-six teachers also volunteered their time as well.

The restoration work included a complete overhaul of the bathroom facilities, repainting the exterior of classrooms and beautification of the flower gardens. A termite-infested wall had to be torn down and rebuilt.

School principal Annmarie Brown was overjoyed by the transformation as years of appealing for help had yielded no result. She said the student population is currently 522, but the school was build to accommodate 300 pupils. Some classes have up to 60 students she highlighted.

“I’m so excited. I’m thrilled. I’m so happy that Jamaica Broilers has chosen to come on board with us. We are grateful for the help and we think we are indeed blessed to have Jamaica Broilers on board to help us make our school more conducive to learning,” the principal beamed.

She then added: “It was very, very difficult… we have been lobbying, trying to get help for years to help us with that wall. When I came here this morning and saw the wall I could not believe it was the same wall.

“They have given us a brand new classroom by putting in this wall for us. I know the children are going to be excited when they come to school and realize that their classroom is now looking like a real classroom.”

Freetown Primary principal Annmarie Brown (right) in her crowded office

The numbers are still being crunched but already early estimated figures are into the millions. Money well spent? Most certainly.

“The needs are great everywhere,” said Dana Cameron, public relations and training officer at the JB Group.

Each year the main project is selected from a list of potential beneficiaries with Freetown getting the nod this time around.

“Here in particular we found that there were some serious issues that needed to be addressed now,” Cameron told Old Harbour News as volunteers took on the challenge in a concerted effort and workman-like fashion.

“Here we are addressing access to water: making sure that the students have clean drinking water. We’re addressing the bathrooms. From about Thursday we had people come in overhaul the bathrooms and Hi-Pro has been very generous in providing all new toilets for the bathrooms. There was a wall in front of the school that was infested with termites: we tore that down and had it rebuilt.”

“The classroom was so clustered. But now we have windows for proper ventilation and as a result of that it is more conducive to learning. It’s clean, it’s nice and we are very, very happy,” said Brown from her crowded office space.

Dana Cameron (left) and GeAnn Dwyer points to the new wall erected

In light of the massive aid from the poultry company, Brown, though grateful, said more is needed and is appealing for additional assistance. More classrooms are needed. At the moment five of those classrooms are each hosting 60 students. She listed the need for a sick bay, a library, a computer room and an office for the guidance councilor, as some of the things most pressing.

Such an undertaking is part of the JB Group core philosophy, said GeAnne Dwyer, brand officer, Best Dressed Chicken.

“Part of our mandate is to promote healthy lifestyles. We are very family oriented and we want to develop persons from where they are; institutions from where they are and make a solid impact wherever we go,” said Dwyer.

Every aspect that can contribute to improved learning was assessed. And even having a beautiful flower garden is believed to have a positive impact in this regard.

“The guys who are here are experienced in this area. We have our sales reps who are agronomists and they have come in to help us. It’s a lot of work but we are going to ensure that the environment in which the children are going to play in this courtyard is beautiful for them,” explained Hi-Pro’s store operations manager Tricia Jackson. “We have to make sure that the plants we choose are hardy and can take the roughness because children play hard. We also have to choose plants that will not prick the children. And then you have to make sure that you have something in the middle of it that will make it standout.”

What was also evident on the day was the commitment of the staff, which Cameron believes is what makes the project seamless and fulfilling. But, the work is only the start of a new beginning with the school she stated.

“We are establishing a relationship with the school and we’ve already started dialogue about sustaining this: how the children will become involved in keeping this alive.

“Whether their environmental committee will start to look at the plants and encourage other students to take care of the space.

“We spoke about a male teacher empowering the boys in the bathroom area. How does a man handle his bathroom facilities? We don’t destroy, we build up.

“We may not finish everything today but we’re coming back and working with the school through the year,” she said.

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Saturday, 21 May 2016 16:33

EOJ renovates Bushy Park Basic School

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) continued its pre-Labour Day tradition with the Bushy Park Basic School being this year’s beneficiary.

Today, several EOJ workers from the regional and national offices volunteered time and effort in giving the over 40 year-old kindergarten institution a deserved facelift. Other members from this farming community in St Catherine also made themselves available for a cause most worthy.

The school is also used as a polling station during elections.

Andrew Smith, who is the EOJ’s regional manager for St Catherine, was among the group giving a helping hand.

“The truth is we still want to give the staff an opportunity to do their own Labour Day project in their communities or at home, so we decide to at all times try to have our own Labour Day project on the nearest Saturday to Labour Day,” Smith told Old Harbour News.

“In St Catherine we have 11 constituencies and being the regional manager I know the area very well. We did an assessment of all the basic schools and primary schools and to be honest with you we see where the Bushy Park Basic School really needed a lot of help.”

A member from the Bushy Park community giving service to a cause most worthy

He added: “One of the criteria is that we normally choose from one of the facilities that we normally use as a polling station.”

Smith says he hasn’t quantified the cost for the renovation but noted the contribution of corporate giants the Jamaica Broilers Group and Tank Weld Limited.

The parish manager also noted that the project is one medium through which the EOJ gives back to the country.

“The fact of the matter is that we try to harness the resources as best as possible because we recognize that it is a worthwhile project and is one through which the EOJ tries to give back to the society.

“We have a soft spot for schools…because we recognize the value of education to the society,” he said.

Nadia Hansel, principal of the school was most grateful for the help, as the poor state of the facility had seen a reduction is the number of pupil attending, moving from a high of over 40 to now 32.

“This is very important because of the previous state we were in we started having low attendance. Parents were taking their kids from the school into other schools. But after today we are hoping to see an increase in registration come September,” said Hansel, who has been at the school for 15 years, serving the last two as principal.

She’s also appealing for additional help.

“One of the requirements from the Early Childhood Commission is that we’re suppose to have a play area for the children but unfortunately we do not have one, so if we could get persons to come on board to give us a nice play area for the kids that will be great,” Hansel said.

This year’s Labour Day activities will be held on May 23. Labour Day is a national holiday in Jamaica.

(L-R) Andrew Smith, EOJ regional manager; Glaspole Brown, assistant director of elections, in charge of administration, EOJ; Larry Crichton, group project manager, Jamaica Broilers Group and Cheryl McGeachy, EOJ’s public relations officer for sport and social club engage in a discussion

Members from the Bushy Park community giving a helping hand

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Thursday, 07 January 2016 12:14

Best Dressed Chicken to meet consumer demand

The Best Dressed Chicken, a subsidiary of the Jamaica Broilers Group, is assuring its consumers that the increased demand for its products should be met by the end of next week due to a further increase in production.

“The company recognises that there was a stronger than anticipated demand for chicken products over the recent holiday season and acknowledges that its customers were not able to get their orders filled as required. This increased demand is attributed to a stronger economy.

“Therefore, although there was increased production, the demand for The Best Dressed Chicken was greater than projected. In fact, The Best Dressed Chicken increased its production by more than 17 per cent over last year. The company wants to assure the public that there is no doubt that the local industry is responding to this increased demand going forward,” the company said in a statement.

The company further stated its contract farmers are expanding their operations and, at the end of the first half of this year, are scheduled to invest over J$700 million in additional poultry houses.

“The Best Dressed Chicken has commissioned an additional hatchery, which has given the company the ability to further respond to the growing demand. In addition, a double shift system has been introduced at The Best Dressed Chicken processing plant,” the release continued.

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A few days ago the mission was Spring Village before shifting focus to the elderly in McCook Pen.

At the end of it all last Friday it was mission accomplished for the Jamaica Broilers Group in spreading Christmas cheer within the McCook Pen community where it’s headquartered.

It has become an annual ritual especially at this time of the year for members of the Jamaica Broilers Group to reach out to senior citizens delivering “care packages” as many are unable to leave their homes.

And so it was yet again, as the JBG team lead by Danah Cameron, group public relations officer, brought bright smiles to many old faces.

“Just like how Spring Village is home to Best Dressed Chicken, McCook Pen is home to the Jamaica Broilers head office. So we go out in the community there and meet the elderly and shut-ins right at their front doors and we give them a care package, which is usually a half of a Best Dressed Chicken, rice flour, staples like that; maybe a few canned goods. And we take time to just catch-up and say ‘how you do?’

“Again some of the people who work at McCook Pen are resident or have family in the community. So it’s always nice to see people hug up and say ‘how you doing?’; so it’s a good old reunion… and you know some of the best stories come from the people living in the area because they’ve worked for the company and they can tell you when Mr (Robert) Levy was a boy, so it’s just lovely to share stories with them,” JBG PR Officer said.

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