by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Inter-American Institute for the Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) facilitated a consultant’s visit to advise on establishing a Broiler Industry in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Consultation was held in Nevis on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, and in St. Kitts on Wednesday, November 15, by Mr Dayanand Mahabir Singh, a well-known poultry specialist from Trinidad and Tobago.
Deputy Director in the Ministry of Agriculture- Nevis Floyd Liburd, gave a brief overview of the consultations.
“That was a good turnout. The farmers were asking pertinent questions in terms of Broiler and Broiler Production, and he did a very excellent presentation and that speaks volume. I think the farmers learnt from getting the baby chicks how you handle them, how you brew them right up, the different diseases that could occur during the growth of the broiler and the feeding regime, what should be your feed conversion ratio and all of that; so it was a well-executed training consultation.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Eric Evelyn, early in 2023, informed the public of the establishment of a potential Broiler Industry with the construction of a Poultry Processing Plant at Prospect Industrial Site and 60 acres of land at Webbs Estate in St. George’s Parish for poultry farming.
Ground broke on June 27, 2023, to signal the commencement of the construction of the Poultry Processing Plant. The plan suggests that the facility would measure 8,752 square feet, consisting of two main sections, a poultry processing section and the administrative staff section. The Poultry processing section will include three main machines, including the plug-and-play processing line, the spin chiller, the cut-up machine and a chill storage area.
However, since the ground broke, there has not been much forward movement in constructing the Broiler facility. Mr Liburd explained to WINN FM the cause of the delay.
“We had a bit of delay in terms of the finalising of the plans. We had a contractor, but he got sick, so we changed the contractor recently and now, the plans are with Planning and Environmental Health; we’re looking at finalising those plans. We would have cleared the area. I know we had a Groundbreaking Ceremony before, but we had some hiccups along the way. But we are straightening it out, and we should get there shortly in terms of getting the facility up and running… We’re looking to start within the first quarter of next year. Hopefully, it might be in January because the new contractor he would have been in already. He looked at the plans; he would have asked to look at the site where that facility would be placed, so we’re hoping that by January- February, we could get that facility started.”
The new contractor for the construction of the Broiler facility is Mr. Edbert Clarke. However, following the construction of the facility, the commissioning would be executed by the supplier of the machinery.
The machinery is already on the island and is housed at a facility owned by LEFCO. The machinery, according to Liburd, had a cost of just over US $300,000.00
Meanwhile, Liburd said the Broiler facility will bring minimal employment in its initial stage, but the industry itself is expected to generate more employment opportunities as it develops.
“We are saying at this time, because it’s a plug-and-play system and everything would be done, basically automatic, most of the operation would be done automatically, we are looking for that facility, approximately six to 10 persons… I think this industry would be able to create a buzz within the Federation and provide that sort of employment. You know, a lot of people are coming out of school; they have different subjects, [and] there are no available jobs sometimes, so they could get into Broiler Production, they could invest in a pen and get some income. It’s a six-week crop.
Currently, approximately 15 chicken or egg farms are located in Nevis, with about six major players rearing over 2,000 birds and other smaller farms rearing 200 to 300 birds.
Mr Liburd said the Ministry of Agriculture observed that in a five-year period, approximately seventy-eight million dollars in poultry meat were being imported. He expressed hope that when the Broiler Industry comes on stream, people would utilise the local industry, which would provide cheaper and more healthy meat for citizens and residents.