MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague, said he would be pushing for increased egg production from local farmers to meet the needs of consumers and egg processors.
He was responding to concerns from the principals of Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ) Limited, the country’s largest food service distributor, about the inability to source enough eggs to meet the needs of clients, including the hotels, which it supplies with liquefied egg product.
The company liquefies up to 48,000 eggs per day at its processing and packaging facility located in the Montego Freeport in St. James Bay, which it provides for hotels and is looking to increase production to enter the retail market.
"They (CPJ) are producing a product that is safe and which exceeds international standards and while they would like to expand, the only thing holding them back is the production of eggs. They would like to go into the retail aspect of the business but can’t because there is just not enough eggs,” the Minister lamented on September 12 during a tour of the company’s plant.
He said the Ministry is looking to partner with the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association to expand output, noting that already measures are being looked at to make credit easier and more accessible to farmers.
"We are in discussions with the National People’s Cooperative Bank and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to lower interest rates. The egg farmers in Jamaica already know how to produce eggs as they have the experience, they have the capacity and they have the competence. I think one of the limiting factors is the cost of credit and we are working to lower this so that they can expand their production,” Mr. Montague stated.
The Agriculture Minister, in the meantime, said he is pleased with the plans expressed by Chairman of CPJ, Mark Hart, and Chief Executive Officer, Tom Tyler to boost pork and egg intake, noting that the farming community stands to benefit.
CPJ, he said, is a prime example of a Jamaican company that is “filling a need, investing their money and putting forward a product that is world class."
“I must congratulate these two hardworking Jamaicans for what they are doing,” he said.
Mr. Tyler told JIS News that the company has made a commitment to supporting local farmers and to encourage more of their customers to buy Jamaican products.
“We’ve stepped into local manufacturing and in 1999 we opened a juice factory, which we just expanded. We have the egg plant and we have plans to expand into other areas. Our goal is to support our local manufacturers and our local farmers and hopefully, get our customers to buy more Jamaican-made products,” he stated.
CPJ was founded in 1994 to service the hospitality industry. The company offers high quality products in the categories of: spirits, beverages, grocery, diary, frozen foods, meats, seafood, and paper products.
In July, the CPJ became the 11th company to list on the Jamaica Junior Stock Exchange, raising over $428 million from the market for its expansion efforts.
By Glenis Rose, JIS Reportert