Farmer not impressed with poultry farm proposal

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A small-scale poultry farmer has scoffed at the US $1 million compensation earmarked for farmers who might be forced to cease operations when the multi-million dollar Siboney Poultry Farm comes on stream.

One of the investors, Greg Zacky, told OBSERVER media last week, the money was budgeted to pay farmers who would not be able to operate as a result of the US $75 million project.

This was part of the investors’ project proposal, now awaiting Cabinet’s approval.

Whether farmers will be able to continue the importation of live broilers or layers once the company is established is still unknown.

Veteran livestock farmer Phillip Abott said the move is “nonsense” and devalues the worth of the local poultry industry.

He also said the entire plan would work against the government and the country on a whole.

“The whole idea is a crazy idea and unfortunately, the government is desperate for some sort of investment,” Abbot said.

According to the farmer, locally produced meat is generally less expensive than those imported from the US and other parts of the world, and if the proposal goes through, it will mean an increase in the cost of chicken.

The principals of the controversial project met with poultry farmers last week to provide details about the initiative.

Zacky said farmers were briefed on the various aspects of an adjusted proposal and the role they would play in its establishment.

Members of the local poultry association are to meet this evening at the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss what was presented to them in its entirety.

The project, once operational, is expected to employ approximately 800 people.

It’s to include three breeder ranches, two pullet ranches, one hatchery, 40 grow-out ranches, a feed mill, a processing plant, rendering facility, maintenance and medical care facilities.

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