Ministry of Agriculture Assists Egg Farmers

The Jamaica Egg Farmers’ Association yesterday (April 4), received a $15 million loan from the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, to assist in the establishment of a liquid egg plant.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, which was held at the Ministry’s Old Hope Road offices, Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke stressed that the loan was an indication of the Government’s commitment to the development of the sub-sector.
Mr. Clarke explained that in light of the increasing demand for pasteurized liquid eggs by hotel operators, as pasteurization ensures that eggs are safe from food borne diseases, the establishment of this processing facility was indeed timely.
He also noted that there is a significant demand for this product from hotel operators in the CARICOM region and to date, Jamaica is the only Caribbean territory that is establishing a facility to produce pasteurized eggs.
“Given the requirements of international food safety standards, hotels are demanding pasteurized, liquid egg. This has made it necessary for the hospitality industry to import liquid eggs at prohibitively high prices, which in turn, is impacting negatively on our local egg farmers’ market share,” the Minister pointed out.
He noted that this new facility would not only assist the hotel industry to meet international food safety standards, but it would also serve to absorb the excess production of eggs.
“The Jamaica table egg industry produces and supplies an average of 11.2 million dozen eggs each year. In fact, last year’s egg production figures totalled 157 million. The downside of this is that Jamaica’s average per capita consumption stands at one egg per person, per week. This, together with the seasonal demand for eggs at Easter and to a greater extent at Christmas time, often result in excess inventory, leading to wastage,” the Minister said. Citing the profitability of establishing a liquid egg plant, Mr. Clarke mentioned the findings of a market survey on the egg industry by the Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP), in 2005, which indicated that 75 per cent of commercial establishments surveyed, which were currently importing liquid eggs, were in favour of using liquid eggs, based on its convenience and the increased shelf life.
Meanwhile, President of the Egg Farmers’ Association, Mark Campbell said that the plant, which is located at Freeport in Montego Bay, is 98 per cent complete and should be officially opened within the next three weeks.

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