A new, privately-owned hatchery that opened in Georgetown on Thursday hopes to meet the national demand for day-old chicks by the midyear.
“We should be able to meet the demand of the local consumers by the middle of this year. With the help of the Ministry of Agriculture, we plan to capture the entire poultry industry,” Clinton Ballantyne, owner of the hatchery, Alco Hatchery and General Supplies, said at the opening of the business.
“What we did, with the assistance and guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture, we embarked on a programme to introduce various breeds of chicken, also to meet the demand of the local customer and consumer,” Ballantyne said at the ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar and other ministry officials.
Ballantyne said the hatchery will supply a variety of species of chicken, including dual-purpose birds (chicken bred for both meat and egg), ranger broiler — a free-range species, and a very durable bird that has very good feed conversion that is suitable for the tropics, and can survive the harshest of conditions.
The hatchery will also supply turkey chicks, including wild Kentucky turkey.
And, Caesar told the opening ceremony that traditionally the state has and will continue to play a role in the production of day-old chicks
He, however, said, “This definitely is a sure sign here by Mr. Clinton Ballantyne that he is expressing significant interest in the development of the agricultural sector. It is very important for us to create the requisite framework as a government to ensure that we foster the much-needed private sector-public sector partnership, if we are going to take agriculture to the next level.
“Production and productivity are two very important watchwords in the Ministry of Agriculture, and I just want to encourage the management and staff and owners here at Alco Hatchery to ensure that their standards are kept very high. I am going to ensure that the veterinary division that they work very closely, rendering the necessary support needed because we definitely have to ensure that all the health protocols are in place,” the minister said.
Alco Hatchery was funded with support from the Farmers Support Company (FSC), a government-owned firm that provides low-interest loans to farmers.
Caesar said that persons who want to get into agricultural businesses can obtain the capital, particularly in the early stages, through FSC loans.