Mark Hart, executive chairman of Caribbean Producers Jamaica.
Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ) has already made its first shipment of pork under plans revealed last week to boost its meat exports.
The company has shipped three containers to St Martin, and will shortly begin exporting pork products to The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and Antigua, said CPJ executive chairman Mark Hart.
The pursuit of pork markets in the region follows a combined US$10-million investment by CPJ and its partners in the venture, described by Hart as the “largest investment in the history of the pork industry”.
CPJ invested US$5 million in building a modern meat-processing plant; Sweet River Abattoir invested US$2.5 million; while growers and suppliers invested the other US$2.5 million in their operations to increase pig production.
The pigs are delivered to and slaughtered by Sweet River, while CPJ packages the products for export as well as the domestic retail market.
“It’s a combined investment of US$10 million. That is a strategic alliance that will produce local pork products. We are trying import substitution – where we offer an alternative to importing pork products,” Hart said.
Jamaica imports about three million kilograms of pork annually. CPJ expects to export a quarter-million kilograms of pork in its first year of exports, Hart said, but avoided monetizing the amount.
“We hope to export 10 containers this year, but we hope to export two containers a month in the medium term,” he told Wednesday Business.
A container holds “a lot” of pigs at over 25,000 kilograms each, “maybe even more,” he said.
The pursuit of overseas market expansion tracks with the commitment by CPJ to develop strategic partnerships, Hart said, as outlined in the prospectus for its initial public offer of shares on the junior stock market. CPJ went public in 2011.