The Full Story
Twenty-nine high quality calves are expected to be delivered shortly under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ National Livestock Genetic Improvement and Breeding Technology Programme.
“We are expecting… eight Jamaica Red Poll, six Jamaica Brahman and 15 Jamaica Black, all of which were conceived through artificial insemination,” said Minister of State, Hon. Franklin Witter.
He was addressing the Minard Livestock Show and Beef Festival at Minard Estate in Brown’s Town, St. Ann on Thursday (Nov. 10).
The initiative, which is being implemented by the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB), aims to provide cattle and small ruminant farmers with access to prime genetic stock, as part of measures to improve the production and productivity of the livestock sector, as well as reduce Jamaica’s importation of beef and milk.
The JDDB began artificial insemination in March 2022.
Mr. Witter said that the livestock sector is on the rebound, reflecting increased production for most categories of animals, with beef and pork production reflecting increases of 10.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively, in 2021.
He said that the Ministry remains committed to partnering with stakeholders to build a modern and competitive local beef industry that can respond to the demands of market and ensure Jamaica’s food security.
To this end, he informed that the JDDB has launched several beef and dairy-centric initiatives in collaboration with farmers, educational institutions and the private sector.
“These include issuing loans of $15 million through the [Concessionary Loan Programme] to beef and cattle farmers and securing 250 heifers under the Heifer Redeployment Programme to be redistributed among our agricultural educational institutions and dairy farmers,” Mr. Witter said.
“We look forward to additional equipment valued at $40 million being made available for lease by the JDDB such as hay haulers, hay harvesters and more,” he said.
He noted that the JDDB will also be promoting increased productivity of small dairy farmers, with the purchase of 20 mobile milking machines, which will allow for milking twice a day, as well as the build-out of a communal milking parlour in Hillside, St. Thomas.
The Minard Livestock Show and Beef Festival was held under the theme: ‘Smart Livestock Production: Safer, Cleaner, Better,’ through partnership with JDDB, Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Cattle Breeders Society of Jamaica, Agro-Investment Corporation, Nutramix and Discovery Bauxite.
The event, held for the first time since 2019, featured thousands of students from basic, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across Jamaica’s 14 parishes.
The students participated in various activities to include goat and calf scramble, sheep draw, livestock judging competitions, rabbit display and draw, beef festival and much more.