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Jamaica Broilers in wait-and-see mode on Haiti operation

Published:Friday | August 27, 2021 | 12:09 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter

Ian Parsard, senior vice-president of Jamaica Broilers Group Limited.
Ian Parsard, senior vice-president of Jamaica Broilers Group Limited.

Jamaica Broilers Group Limited says its operations in Haiti might take a bit longer to return to normality than initially anticipated, following back-to-back tragedies that have given rise to a month-long state of emergency.

The country of 11.5 million people suffered the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse, in July, and shortly after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on August 14 that so far has killed 2,207, injured 12,000, and destroyed nearly 53,000 houses, the authorities have said.

Haiti Broilers SA is located roughly six to eight hours away from the earthquake epicentre in Port-Au-Prince, and, as such, has not had its buildings affected.

Its Lafiteau operations continue with limited staff on-site where possible, while the production of table eggs is still down at the Thomazeau facility, following an incident at its farm last year, from which the company has claimed $236 million in insurance for loss of birds.

Jamaica Broilers intends to get bird production numbers back up at Haiti Broilers, but as to when business will return to normal is still anybody’s guess.

“With the current challenges that are there, things have to get back to some sort of normalcy before we look at doing any significant move. We will continue business as is until something changes,” Senior Vice-President of Finance at Jamaica Broilers, Ian Parsard, told the Financial Gleaner.

For now, Parsard says the company is focused on extending help to its employees and the wider Haiti community, where possible.

“To the extent that we ever need to extend help to our employees, we certainly do; but larger than that, we are involved in a number of global charity initiatives and organisation that are directly and indirectly in Haiti. We have been supporting in cash and effort,” he said.

Haiti was a drag on the group in its last financial year ending May 2021, recording operating losses of $7 million. The crises currently facing the country will exacerbate those results.