Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) is scaling down its Haitian operations following the declaration of martial law in the country after Wednesday morning’s assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Moïse, by a group of unknown gunmen at his private residence.
JBG Vice-President of Finance Ian Parsard confirmed that the company’s hatchery operations in Haiti continue but on a scaled-down basis. Speaking with the Caribbean Business Report yesterday, Parsard disclosed that a skeleton staff has been put in place to keep the business operational, in particular, caring for the live birds.
From its hatchery in Lafiteau, JBG Haiti provides high-quality day-old chicks to poultry farmers. The high-tech facility located just north of Port-au-Prince receives new eggs once a week and after a 21-day process, the eggs are hatched and ready for delivery.
Parsard made the point that, “JBG’s main concern at this time is the safety of its staff and the people of Haiti, so we have scaled down operations but we are emphasising that staff ensure their safety given the declaration of martial law in the country.”
Martial law is law administered by the military rather than a civilian government, typically to restore order. Martial law is declared in an emergency, in a response to a crisis, or to control occupied territory.
Parsard acknowledged that this latest tension in the country will set back the Haitian operations, which is only just recovering from chalking up mounting losses over the past two years, in particular, due to political and social unrest in the country.
This latest state of affairs has come about when JBG Haiti is beginning to churn out profits for the Jamaican agricultural conglomerate group. JBG Haiti, for the nine months ended January 31, 2021, has increased revenues year-over-year to JM$1.74 billion compared to the same period in 2020 when the amount was JM$1.38 billion.
This resulted from increased foreign exchange gains, mainly from the significant currency revaluation in its Haiti operations.
Signalling continued commitment to its most tumultuous market, JBG in February this year promoted a local from within as general manager of its Haitian subsidiary while continuing to work on the turnaround of its operation amid the pandemic and continuing political unrest there.
Haiti Broilers SA, owned 72 per cent by JBG, is in the midst of a restructuring programme. Haitian Carl-Eric Staco, who has been appointed general manager, will also continue to hold his title as sales manager.
He has been tasked with driving up earnings at the business that for the first half of JBG’s current financial year, May to October 2020, made losses of $38.7 million, which was seven times worse than the prior year’s loss of $5.8 million.
He has been in charge since last October and reports to JBG President & CEO Christopher Levy.