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Jamaica Broilers to increase production following COVID slump

Although welcoming the increased hours available for production due to the lessening of curfew hours by the Government, senior vice-president of finance at Jamaica Broilers Group Limited, Ian Parsard says it will take time for the chicken and feed producer to reach previous levels of production.

Jamaica Broilers saw a 40% drop in chicken sales during the coromavirus pandemic.

Parsard, while admitting in an interview with the Jamaica Observer that the company saw a 40 per cent drop in chicken sales and an approximate 20-25 per cent decline in feed sales, said the task now is to get as close as possible to average production.

“We never stopped producing chicken and feed during the limited hours available under the curfew restrictions occasioned by COVID-19. Given the relaxation by the Government, plans are in place to increase our production as the national economy slowly gets back on its feet,” Parsard said.

“If the hospitality sector can recover to 70-80 per cent of normal levels by the start of the winter tourist season, then we can exit this pandemic storm in good shape.”

– Senior vice-president of finance at Jamaica Broilers Group Limited, Ian Parsard

He said that in the company’s attempts to increase production, particular emphasis would be placed on the health protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“This is of paramount importance as [it concerns] the health safety of all our team members, whether in the offices or on the production line. There will be strict adherence to the health protocols as we realise that while we seek to increase production, the pandemic is not over, and every precaution still has to be taken,” he said.

Jamaica Broilers Best Dressed Factory in Old Harbour, Jamaica. (Photo: JBG)

Responding to questions regarding the drop-off in chicken sales Parsard explained, “We have, over the years, developed five main sales categories for chicken.

1. Retail: Although limited by the curfew hours, this area has held its own mainly through sales in supermarkets and other retail outlets.

2. Wholesale: This area has held firm despite the curtailment of activities because of the pandemic.

3. Quick Service: This area includes the major fast food entities. It forms a significant part of our overall sales and has suffered badly. The hope is that with the gradual reopening of the economy, this area will gradually increase.

4. Restaurants and Catering: These are the many restaurants and catering companies spread across

. As is well known, restaurants and catering companies have taken quite a hit, which has translated to a sharp decrease in sales.

5. Hospitality Industry: This sector is a major part of our sales; the closure of the country’s hotels has dented sales significantly. This is the sector where Jamaica Broilers has suffered most of its losses. The expectation is that with the borders opening for foreign travel on June 15, the hospital industry will gradually pick up. If the hospitality sector can recover to 70-80 per cent of normal levels by the start of the winter tourist season, then we can exit this pandemic storm in good shape,” Parsard said.

–Durrante Pate