Talks are currently underway between the Ministry of Agriculture and stakeholders in western Jamaica regarding long-desired plans for the development and installation of a slaughterhouse.
The move is needed for livestock farmers to bring their cattle in adherence with food safety guidelines.
Agriculture Minister Pearnel Charles Jr provided a brief update on the matter today while addressing a post-sectoral media briefing via Zoom.
During his presentation in Parliament on Tuesday, he announced the ministry’s ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ food security initiative.
“Concerning the slaughterhouse, I am advised that we are involved in discussions with the persons who have proposed it and so subsequent to that we can provide a much more sufficient response,” said Charles Jr., though he did not indicate when the talks began or how long they may last.
During last month’s annual staging of the Montpelier Agricultural Show in St James, Montego Bay’s Deputy Mayor Richard Vernon called for a meeting with the ministry for the development of a slaughterhouse in St James, citing food security concerns in the parish.
Since 2012, there has been no abattoir or slaughterhouse in St James, with butchers claiming that the lack thereof was impacting their ability to operate within health guidelines.
There have also been frequent reports of illegal slaughterhouses across the parish.
The problem was compounded by a 2013 report that a lack of funding was preventing some of western Jamaica's local authorities from establishing central abattoirs across the various parishes.
In 2020, Lydford Logistics Limited bought the Sweet River Abattoir in Westmoreland with plans to get the plant compliant with international standards to supply meat to owner and business operator Richard Lake’s chain of restaurants.