Harvesting by the Jamaica Broilers Group of the first crop of corn grown for local animal feed on 100 acres at Spring Village, St. Catherine, was completed yesterday (November 14) with the Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, Roger Clarke participating.
“What I have seen here today is revolutionary as far as corn production in this country is concerned and is another example of the continuous fighting spirit of JBG. I was here when the seeds were planted and I am encouraged by the results so far,” Mr. Clarke noted. The Minister had a bird’s eye view of the corn field - located close to the Best Dressed Chicken Processing Plant - while travelling in a John Deere harvester, the first of its kind in Jamaica. He was met on location by Jamaica Broilers Group Chairman, Robert Levy and President & CEO, Christopher Levy and Group executives.
In reviewing production to-date, Conley Salmon, VP, Marketing – Feeds and Agricultural Supplies at JBG said: “We are pleased with the results of the corn pilot project. In fact, despite the recent heavy flood rains and Hurricane Sandy, we were able to achieve acceptable yields for the first crop and there are plans to expand the acreage under production by about 20 per cent for the next planting season. ”
Norman Williams, project manager said the grow-out and sun-drying period of the current crop took four months and the land is to be prepared immediately for replanting. “At this point we are testing a variety of corn in order to ascertain the type with the highest yield which can be grown cost effectively,” he said.
Using the successful business model for its poultry operations, Jamaica Broilers plans to invite contract farmers to grow corn and supply the Group for its production of animal feed under the Hi-Pro brand.
Jamaica Broilers Group Limited has launched the national corn project in an effort to save foreign exchange used for the importation of the grain – the cost of which has climbed to a record high in recent months. The Ministry of Agriculture has committed to partnering with JBG to utilize suitable unused farm lands to get this initiative to a critical mass.