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News 957 views update:Mar 9, 2016

Jamaica attracting heavy investments in poultry

The poultry and pig sectors in Jamaica are receiving heavy investment dollars as the agricultural subsectors continue to witness significant growth in loans.

Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) loans to the poultry sector topped $1 billion last year, up from $177 million in 2012 and $80 million five years ago.

"What you find is that poultry is the most sufficient converter of animal protein when compared to fish, cows or pigs," said Ian Parsard, senior vice-president of operations at the Jamaica Broilers Group. "So when costs are going up, chicken will go up at a lower rate than those other proteins and it is a competitive product for Jamaica consumers."

Currently, the system in place for the poultry industry encourages stability in the repayment of loans through contract farming with Jamaica Broilers and Caribbean Broilers and markets where one can "un-sell" their birds to repay their loans.

As such, contract farmers are beginning to expand their operations which results in the poultry processors' continuous investments in its feed mills, chicken plants and hatchery.

Interestingly, poultry production has been somewhat flat at just over 100,000 tonnes since 2010, although ramped up investment in 2013 might translate into a jump in production this year.

The pig sector started to get the attention of major lenders back in 2009, when the DBJ disbursed $64 million in loans towards that area of production. Since then a further $500 million has been lent to pig farmers through the government-owned lending agency.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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