GK to open sixth manufacturing plant in Jamaica

GraceKennedy Limited (GK) plans to open its sixth manufacturing plant in Jamaica by mid-2018 which it has been working on the acquisition from late 2015. The plant located in Denbigh, Clarendon, is a 60,000 square foot facility containing specialized agro-processing production line which will be improved with newly acquired equipment.

GK intends to spend approximately J$215 million on obtaining “agro-processing equipment, installing a blast-freezing capability, refurbishing and upgrading the facility and property, implementing a waste water management system and funding product research and development.” The purpose of the plant will be to produce a range of conveniently portioned and packaged locally grown fruits and vegetables primarily for export markets. According to the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Don Wehby, this, “will be another channel for farmers to supply goods that are in high demand in North America and UK markets.” With the commissioning of the new plant, job opportunities are expected to arise within the areas as the CEO noted, “We expect to create employment for up to seventy persons and contribute to further growth in the agricultural sector as over time.”

GK indicated that they have created numerous opportunities for farmers across the island which has resulted in the company being supplied with meat, fruits and vegetables by hundreds of farmers. Through GK’s Farmers’ Assistance and Seedlings programmes, Grace Agro Processors (GAP) based in St. Elizabeth, has helped reverse deficits in supply of chili pepper initiated by droughts in 2014 and 2015. GAP has now become an exporter of pepper mash producing more than 1,350 metric tonnes of pepper and scallion in 2016.

This project undertaken by GK further deepens the roots of its relationships with farmers across the island as the group develops, “new initiatives to absorb their supplies, incentivize productivity, and promote employment opportunities,” according to Mr. Wehby.





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