The project which is near completion has been established under the Public Private Partnership model at a cost of $292 million and is expected to result in foreign exchange savings of up to US$9 million annually.
Speaking at the official launch of the project at the facility, Portfolio Minister Hon. Derrick Kellier said even whilst his Ministry was addressing the production situation through improved breeding techniques and better husbandry practices, “we are also conscious that we need proper food safety and traceability systems.”
In this regard, Mr. Kellier said a study for the strategic implementation of an abattoir meat science system was conducted in an effort to streamline the country’s slaughtering houses and abattoirs to meet international best practices.
“Emanating from that study is the recommendation to establish regional abattoirs in five centralized locations. In addition, it was determined that these abattoirs could become part of the Agro-park programme and consequently this allowed the government to enter into partnerships with the private sector to establish these abattoirs,” Mr. Kellier said.
The12, 000 square feet fully automated facility will target the throughput of 2.6 million kilo gram (kg) of pork and 315,500 kg of chevron and mutton and provide direct employment for 50 persons and another 1,200 through indirect employment.
“The Ministry is providing grant funding of $27 million … and the Sweet River Abattoir is therefore expected to purchase pigs, sheep and goats from farmers in the County of Cornwall to include St. Elizabeth, St. James, Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland,” the Agriculture Minister informed.
He expressed the hope that the quality of choice cuts emerging from the facility will meet standards required for the hotel and manufacturing sectors and will eventually reduce Jamaica’s reliance on imported meats.
Infrastructure works are continuing in earnest to have the facility in operations within another few months.