The almost $200-million expansion of Best Dressed Chicken’s Cumberland Hatchery in Portmore is being hailed by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., as a major boost for the agriculture sector.

The expansion increases the hatchery’s capacity by 70 per cent, allowing the company to better meet the demands of the local market and, particularly, small poultry farmers, by ensuring a steady supply of baby chicks.

Among the upgrades to the facility are the addition of four new setters and two new hatchers as well as improvements to the general infrastructure.

The facility, which provides for the hatching of eggs in a safe, controlled environment, now features improved temperature control, ventilation and air flow management in keeping with the requirements of a modern hatchery operation, while helping to preserve biosecurity.

Speaking at the reopening ceremony on Wednesday (May 10), Minister Charles Jr., said the Jamaica Broilers Group, which is the parent organisation of Best Dressed Chicken, continues to be a “primary strategic partner” with a “long and rich history” of assisting small farmers across Jamaica.

“This expansion is part of the response to the call for us to continue to innovate and to introduce the kind of technology that will push Jamaica forward,” he said.

Noting the uncertainties over the last few years, the Minister said that “had it not been for companies like Jamaica Broilers, had it not been for our strategic relationships that we could lean on, I don’t think that Jamaica would be able to say as a nation that we have not just recovered but recovered stronger.”