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CBG Spends $400 Million to Get More Pork Eaters

by 5m Editor
6 April 2011, at 11:21am

JAMAICA - Large agro-producer Caribbean Broilers Group (CBG) has invested over $400 million to get more Jamaicans eating pork despite anti-pork preferences of many Jamaican consumers.

Concurrently the group wants to invest more funds in order to eliminate bacon importation within three years, Jamaica Observer reports.

The island has one of the lowest pork consumption rates in the world roughly one-seventh of the global average, according to Dr Keith Amiel corporate affairs manager at CBG in an Observer interview yesterday. The hurdles includes the dominant chicken diet and second the anti-pork influence of Rastafari and Adventist groups, he stated.

"There has been confusion in the Jamaican context because of the approach to pork by the Rastafari Adventist and other groups. The most eaten meat in the world is pork and in Jamaica we eat only six kilogrammes a year whilst Cuba next door eats 42 kilogrammes," stated Dr Amiel who added that the average person in the world eats 40 to 45 kilogrammes. "So in Jamaica we are low and out. Yet we have this international image of Boston Jerk Pork and Jamaica Jerk Pork and so on."

He reasoned that opportunities exist to increase local pork consumption by filling supply shortfalls in beef and mutton of which $100-$150 million of the latter meat is imported a month.

The CBG which also produces CB Chicken spent an initial $200 million investment in its pork facility at New Pork East in Bodles and also a pig farm in Lucea seven years ago. Yesterday Amiel revealed that the group more than doubled that investment based on the 20 per cent growth of local pork market.

"It represents the success of those initial investments and since then much more money has been invested into the pork products," stated Dr Amiel who was mum on expenditure in order to respect private shareholder confidentiality.

He however stated that further investment would commence shortly in an attempt to eliminate the island's bacon and pig-parts importation within three years. The tourism sector has mainly fueled this growth, he explained.

"The Europeans eat an awful lot of pork, sausage and bacon. The idea is to expand this aspect of the business," he said."We will increase production so as to make the island self-sufficient and satisfy the requirements of the tourist industry which is increasing at a rapid rate. Especially European tourists."

The island eats some 130,000 pigs a year and employs some 6,000, according to Dr Amiel quoting a government report. The poultry industry by contrast employs 30,000.

The New Pork East facility focuses on pig research, development and breeding pig stock utilising imported semen from Canada. He noted that poultry is a mature industry with Jamaicans eating that meat daily.

"Chicken has even become a breakfast meat," he stated then alluded to the fact that chicken's dominance once mirrored Pork's fledgling status."We have been able to grow that industry successfully."