World class poultry farm coming to SVG
June 10, 2011

World class poultry farm coming to SVG

Very soon, Vincentians may be able to purchase locally produced and processed chicken.{{more}}

This is as a group of investors is currently holding talks with government officials to establish for the very first time a world class poultry processing facility here.

Hairouna Poultry Company Incorporated is a registered Vincentian entity, and according to Gregg Zacky, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Ronald Mann, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-chairman, if all goes well, the Vincentian public may be purchasing locally produced poultry products by Carnival 2012.

“Our goal is to bring a world class poultry grow out and processing facility to St Vincent,” Zacky told SEARCHLIGHT.

The plan is to build the facility in four phases, with the final stage being a processing plant, employing over 850 persons and processing in excess of 500,000 chickens per week, for export to regional markets.

For now, the team from the United States is concentrating on getting the first phase off the ground, and this is expected to begin with the processing of 125,000 chickens per week.

The idea all started with Mann, who has visited these shores before, and Harry Fitz-Herbert, the company’s other co-chairman and director of government and community relations, who after speaking to a number of people discovered that the majority of the chicken consumed on the island is imported.

“We thought that there must be some way to bring fresh product to the island,” Mann explained.

The men further explained that their research revealed that this country currently imports about 20 million pounds of chicken annually from the US and Great Britian.

They anticipate that this number will increase to about 26 million pounds in the next eight years.

The decision to look at regional markets is in an effort to ensure that the facility is in a better position to maximize its profit, but both men indicated that the short term plan will be to satisfy the needs of the local population.

St Vincent was selected due to its geographic location and will become a central location when the facility ventures out into the region.

The men said that the facility will be fully computerized and will be producing a product that is worthy of being exported to the rest of the world.

“The objective is to turn this country from a net importing to net exporting country,” Mann contended.

Once fully operational, there are benefits for Vincentians, too.

“It’s going to be an enjoyable place to work,” Mann said, adding that employees will be provided with numerous benefits.

These include a higher than average salary base, life insurance and medical benefits to employees and their families.

Zacky further explained that the plan, as of now, is to bring in foreign managers, but they expect that the entire middle management team will consist of Vincentians.

They also contend that the introduction of a facility of this magnitude is not to put local farmers out of business. However, they intend to incorporate local farms.

Zacky said that they will build the chicken house on the individual’s property, then the farmer will enter a contract where they will be paid for their efforts.

“They already possess a skill, so we’d like to employ them full time,” he said.

Currently the team is finishing talks with officials to identify and secure locations for the facility.

Ideally, the men say that they would like to house the milling station at Lowmans Bay, place the hatchery in the Dunbarton area and have the physical processing plant at the Diamond Industrial Estate.

“If all goes well, we can expect to see the ground breaking ceremony as soon as October. That’s our goal, but it all depends on how quickly we can work things out,” Zacky said.