The small ruminant industry is to be further developed this financial year, with an allotment of $55.5 million to the Diversification of the Caribbean Livestock through the Production of Small Ruminants project.
The objectives of the project, as outlined in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure, are to contribute to the attainment of self-sufficiency in regional meat consumption initially, through the development of the small ruminant industry; and to increase the availability of quality breeding stock at affordable prices.
It also seeks to transfer /disseminate technology in the use of improved feed and feeding systems; and to increase the production of small ruminants meat and ancillary products.
For the 2012/13 financial year, the project is expected to carry out the selection and procurement of breeding animals. An improved management system for feeding, housing and animal husbandry is also to be established and maintained.
In addition, under the project, demonstration/training in meat processing and by-product refinement is to be conducted; trainers and livestock producers are to be trained; and existing abattoir facilities are to be refurbished/upgraded.
Up to March 2012, achievements included: institutional refurbishment of residential training facilities (dormitories and classrooms) completed; refurbishment of animal housing facilities initiated; procurement of supplies and preparation for forage establishment initiated; and procurement of training equipment initiated.
Being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, with financial support from the Common Fund for Commodities, the project, which began in April 2012, is expected to end in March 2013.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter