JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture has implemented a US$1.3 million Pig Industry Development Project (PIDP) to improve the supply of pork locally.
The project, which is a joint initiative involving the Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) and Newport Mills, involves the importation of purebred pigs from a genetics company in Canada for interbreeding with local varieties.
Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, in his address at the third annual general meeting of the Jamaica Pig Farmer’s Association on August 25 at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, informed that the aim of the project was to improve the quality of pig meat, achieve marked reduction in the cost of production, and satisfy local demand for pork.
He noted that to date, 210 purebred pigs have been imported from Canada for breeding purposes and for the production of semen for farmers. “The hope is that with the application of science and technology in the area of animal genetics, we will be enabled to inseminate our local pig stock with high quality semen so as to improve the value of our animals,” Minister Clarke stated.
Bodles Research Station in Clarendon will serve as the base of the PIDP and will facilitate the establishment of a functional core breeding facility to house 190 pigs of superior breed out of Canada; an artificial insemination laboratory as well as a special extension and marketing service to assist local farmers.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture Minister is encouraging more farmers to get into the pig rearing business in order to satisfy the high local demand for pig meat.
He noted that the seven million kilograms of pork produced each year, was not enough to meet local demand. “We currently have to import more than 23 per cent of our pork requirements from Canada and this figure is rising,” the Minister stated.
He said the Ministry was well aware of the many challenges that the industry faced, such as high cost of feed, poor genetic stock, low productivity and lack of an organised market and distribution system, but indicated that a number of “far reaching initiatives” were being implemented to address these constraints.
“To facilitate the modernisation of this sector, our research division is working in areas such as animal husbandry, cross-breeding of local stock with animals belonging to the large white Yorkshire, Landrace and Duroc breeds,” he informed the farmers.
Further, the Agriculture Minister said, “strong emphasis” would be placed on animal nutrition to improve productivity.
“Our work in the area of feed improvement and development continues as what we are seeking to do is to maintain a strong focus on analysing the use of a range of forages and agricultural bi-products for use as animal feed, with the long-term aim of improving livestock production and productivity,” he stated.
Some 8,000 Jamaicans are directly employed to the pig industry.