MAJOR national chicken producer Tablebirds is now celebrating 35 years of poultry business in Papua New Guinea.
The company, which is owned by Mainland Holdings Limited, sells chicken products throughout the country.
By far the biggest division in the Mainland Holdings group, Tablebirds employs 1,000 people, most of whom are women working in the company’s chicken processing factory at Six Mile just outside Lae City.
It began operations in 1974 as Niugini Tablebirds.
Mainland Holdings purchased Niugini Tablebirds in 1980 in a joint (50/50) partnership with the then PNG Development Bank.
Under this joint ownership, the Tablebirds built the Nine Mile hatchery, Gabensis broiler farm and commissioned the brand new processing plant at Six Mile with its freezer complex.
Tablebirds bought out the bank’s share in 1990.
Mainland Holdings chief executive officer and former general manager of Tablebirds – Richard Greenhalgh said recently Tablebirds had always had a philosophy which was “to facilitate its growth through the out-grower concept.
“The majority of our broilers are provided by our farms with a ratio of 60%-40%. Most out-growers have sheds of 4,000-5,000 birds from which they make a good living,” Mr Greenhalgh said.
In 1986, after purchasing land at Sasiang in the Markam Valley, Tablebirds built two parent farms to produce the eggs for broiler production.
In 1990, Tablebirds was asked to take over the Department of Agriculture and Livestock’s grandparent farm at Erap, which supplied eggs to all the chicken producers in PNG.
This was subsequently relocated in 1998 to a brand-new purpose-built farm at Atzera in the upper Markham Valley.
A brand new hatchery at Erap was also built around that time to complement the old 9-Mile hatchery and to cater for the increased production requirements.
Tablebirds also owns the 3 Roses Flour Mill which was built in 2001, and now supplies flour all over PNG.
This year Tablebirds started going into egg production.
Mr Greenhalgh told The National recently that Tablebirds eggs would be on the market selling in Lae and Kokopo and then Port Moresby early in the new year.
Port Moresby holds 50% of the Tablebirds market.
Mr Greenhalgh said the company had gone into egg production in a big way to meet the increasing demand for high quality chicken eggs.
There is also an increasing demand for chicken with the LNG project, the mining and other major projects coming up throughout PNG.
Tablebirds is preparing itself to meet the demand, said Mr Greenhalgh.