Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica’s protein manufacturing trailblazer, Rainforest Seafoods continues its drive for regional expansion and vertical integration with the opening of a state-of-the-art seafood processing plant in Belize.
The facility which was launched formally on November 17th in Independence, Belize is the culmination of an over 18-year presence in Belize. This began when the company found southern Belize to be an excellent source of best quality seafood and over time led to Rainforest becoming the largest purveyor of Belizean seafood throughout the Caribbean.
Seven years ago Rainforest established their commitment to the Caribbean country when they built a fish plant and later acquired a 1500 acre shrimp farm, Bel Euro in 2014.
The continued growth of Rainforest Seafoods in Belize has led to this investment of a US$2 million value-added processing facility with the capacity to process a wide range of finfish, shellfish and mollusks.
Belizean Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Godwin Hulse lauded the company for their contribution to the country’s fisheries sector. “The partnership is wonderful, especially since it links in the small fisherman. This kind of investment broadens the market and provides linkages that help develop the country. I am pleased that the products are going into multiple CARICOM countries which shows that the single market is working.”
The 10,000 square-foot plant features a cold storage capacity of 150,000 lbs, several blast freezers and processing rooms along with state of the art equipment that allows for at-source retail packaging. This modern value added facility will ensure that the product presentation appeals to international markets. Rainforest exports Belizean seafood throughout the Caribbean, US, Singapore and Taiwan and is actively seeking to gain a foothold in new markets throughout Europe.
Brian Jardim Rainforest’s Chief Executive Officer is optimistic about an expansion into the processing of a wider range of seafood including conch, deep-water fish and sea cucumbers due to the capacity of the plant where 35 Belizeans are currently employed. Jardim stated “with our investments in this plant’s value-added capabilities, we are proud to say that this facility can stand toe-to-toe with any plant across the globe in terms of HACCP and Best Manufacturing Practices.”
“With its high-quality, sustainable seafood Belize is a critical component of Rainforest’s strategic plans for continued vertical integration and our vision to be a regional seafood leader with global reach.”
Rainforest Seafoods, which currently employs over 600 Caribbean team members, remains bullish about the region. The company’s expansion will continue with the development of a similar value-added facility in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the third quarter of 2017.