Pig farmers in the community of Sligoville and its environs in St. Catherine are to benefit from a donation of 100 bags of animal feed, valued at approximately $500,000.
The donation, from Caribbean Foods Limited, came out of discussion between Minister with responsibility for Sports and Member of Parliament for North Central St. Catherine, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, and Operations Manager at the food processing company, Christopher Ramson.
It forms part of inputs to support the newly formed North Central St. Catherine Pig Farmers Association, which the Minister has initiated as part of an agricultural enablement project for the area.
Some 15 farmers, all members of the association, will benefit initially, with others expected to do so as soon as their operations come on stream.
Mrs. Neita Headley, who spoke to JIS News after formally receiving the feed at Caribbean Foods’ Twickenham Park factory on Wednesday (April 3), said the donation should provide a boost for the beneficiaries.
“It is more than I could have asked for,” she said, adding that “we are going to benefit tremendously from it…we are truly grateful.”
She expressed confidence that the pig farmers association “is going to do well for our young people, especially in the area of Sligoville, where it is deep rural and is primarily focused on agriculture.”
Mrs. Neita Headley advised that she would seek to establish an arrangement with Caribbean Foods for the continued provision of animal feed, among other inputs.
“We are having those discussions now…we further hope that once we have (assisted) one group of farmers who are able to help themselves, that we can start a new group and move on from there,” she stated.
Mr. Ramson, in the meantime, explained that the feed is the end product from the manufacturing of Caribbean Foods’ flagship Foska Oats breakfast cereal brand.
He pointed out that while the product is sold to farmers islandwide, the company welcomes the opportunity to assist the fledgling association and farmers.
“The product is something that we hope we can provide for them on an ongoing basis. This is the first of many donations…half of what we produce, we will sell, and the other half, I’m going to give to her (Mrs. Neita Headley) association to help launch and get it going,” Mr. Ramson said.
President of the North Central St. Catherine Pig Farmers Association, Elizabeth Green, in welcoming the gesture, said it is expected to significantly reduce some of the costs associated with sourcing animal feed.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter