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Chicken producers cleared for Caricom exports after risk assessment

Published:Monday | May 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder/Business Reporter
President & CEO of Jamaica Broilers Group, Christopher Levy.
Dr Keith Amiel, head of corporate affairs at CB Group.

CB Group is set to ramp up exports of chicken and pork to Caribbean markets following the green light from Council for Trade and Economic Development, COTED, in the wake of a risk assessment of producers in Caribbean countries, Jamaica among them.

Last October, COTED approved nine of the region's processing plants for trade within the region. That decision was reviewed at a meeting in April, at which Jamaica's Christopher Levy, the president and CEO of Jamaica Broilers Group, was present.

As noted on the Caricom's website, plants in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago were cleared to sell poultry products intra-regionally after they were found to meet sanitary requirements for the Caricom market. The risk assessment was coordinated by the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency and the review was finalised by the Caricom Committee of Chief Veterinary Officers.

The decision opens up new business for Jamaica in the region, but it likewise could see more regional meats entering the local market.

Levy told the Financial Gleaner that he was not in a position to provide an update on the COTED decision, nor comment on what it might mean for the Jamaican market.

However, Dr Keith Amiel, the head of corporate affairs at CB Group said his company was positioning to ramp up exports to the region as a result of the decision. The company, which is second in the Jamaican market behind Jamaica Broilers, had been vocal in its push for Caricom to open up the poultry market to producers in the trading bloc.

The Caricom report on the April COTED meeting notes that poultry accounts for more than 80 per cent of the meat consumed in the region, with most of it issuing from Caribbean Poultry Association member organisations.

It said self-sufficiency in the region was approximately 67 per cent for meats and close to 100 per cent for eggs. Regionally, the industry produces about 243,000 metric tonnes of poultry and 122 million dozen eggs per year. It accounts for more than 100,000 jobs and annual sales of US$660 million.

Caribbean Poultry representatives reported to the Caricom assessors that they were "making inroads in the fast-growing area of value-added offerings such as pre-seasoned, ready-to-cook, and fully-cooked products", while identifying jerk, curried and other regional indigenous seasoned meat as the greatest potential for export.

The meeting also discussed the developments in liquid eggs, breeder eggs, feed production, cogeneration and meeting the demands of a differentiated poultry market through the supply of more than 60 types of fresh product.

Dr Amiel told the Financial Gleaner that CB Foods is the largest source of animal feeds to Caricom, but is also hoping to tap the islands for chickens, as well as processed and finished foods. CB also plans to add new lines in 'ready to eat' and 'ready to cook' foods.