In our 65th year of providing high-quality poultry and poultry products, we find ourselves facing unprecedented challenges in the agricultural sector, namely climate change mitigation and adaptation, good water supply and food security. The critical question we face is, “Are we ready?” This is why we were keen on partnering with the International Conference on the Impact of Climate Change on Food Security – Caribbean Readiness. At this year’s event, we participated in vibrant discussions with fellow industry players, manufacturers, agri-business owners, academia and government officials and collectively proposed steps for a sustainable future.
The scorching temperatures of this record-breaking year took a toll on us in ‘the chicken business.’ We witnessed adverse impacts including heat-stressed birds, reduced feed consumption and lower body weights. These consequences extended beyond poultry to affect crops, livestock, and water supply. At our processing plant, a significant volume of water is used to ensure a hygienic operation, satisfying our customer requirements as well as local and international regulatory standards. In order to increase the efficiency and sustainability of our systems, we challenged our teams further to reduce water consumption and waste by continuously revisiting our targets and we are pleased to share that these targets were met and, in some instances, surpassed. This resulted in a 25% decrease in water consumption per bird processed and our teams remain focused on working to improve operational efficiencies.
Climate change is not a distant threat; it is here, affecting water availability, agricultural practices, and food security. The interconnectedness of our regional food supply chain coupled with geopolitical issues poses additional challenges, such as increased prices for agricultural inputs and reduced commodity availability. If we are to distinguish ourselves as a resilient nation, we must not only absorb knowledge but translate it into action.
In the words of former US President Barack Obama, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” The resounding answer to the question of readiness must be ‘YES.’ May this be our moment of climate action, uniting us in the pursuit of a resilient and secure future.