Montrose Holdings, one of Barbados’ main poultry producers, is about to chop a huge chunk off its energy costs by becoming independent of the Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) national grid.
Chief Executive Officer of Montrose Holdings Dominic DeFreitas said his company was well on its way to reducing its reliance on the BL&P for its electricity requirements by establishing a “large” solar farm.
He made the revelation following a tour of the company’s Chickmont Foods Limited location on Monday, while noting that the solar farm would be replicated at the other farms.
“We are in the process of doing a large solar power plant on one of our chicken farms. So right now we have a lot of solar installed on some of our chicken houses, which make them independent of the BL&P,” he reported.
“Right now we are doing some initiatives to make most of them 100 per cent renewable so that our poultry is basically backed by renewable energy. That is the major initiative going forward,” he added.
DeFreitas did not disclose how much the company was currently spending in electricity or how much it was likely to save, but said setting up the solar farms would help the company to significantly cut back on its operational costs and pass savings on to customers.
“It basically keeps us in business and helps us to make a better-priced product. It helps us to produce our chickens at zero energy costs,” he said.
Chickmont Foods Ltd, which controls about 40 per cent of the poultry market, is a subsidiary of Montrose Holdings. Other companies in the group include ZRS Broiler Farms and Monterey Farms Limited.
The group currently employs about 800 people, with about 350 of them employed by Chickmont Foods alone.
DeFreitas predicted that more people would enter the poultry industry as a result of Government’s ongoing restructuring, but said he welcomed competition.
“We have a wide variety of competitors and we always welcome competition and there is a lot of people vying for the poultry industry. With the recent fallouts from the austerity that the Government has imposed, a lot more will start going into the poultry industry. It is always welcomed, everyone needs to earn a living,” said DeFreitas, who pointed out that his company was ready to meet the demands for the Christmas season. (MM)