JIS News

The Jamaica Goat Farmers Association is looking to put a number of projects in place to increase goat farming in Jamaica, which will boost animal stock, meet the high demand, and reduce the price for goat meat.
These initiatives, which will be funded through an expected $81 million grant from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), include the setting up of eight pilot goat farms across the island, with quality goat houses, which will teach best practices and techniques in goat farming and management.
President of the Jamaica Goat Farmers Association, Derrick Vermont, speaking at a goat farming seminar held earlier this week at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) office in Mandeville, Manchester informed that 10 to 20 satellite stations will operate around these farms.
“We are going to be setting up these pilot stations. We are going to be having satellite farms around them wherever they are set up and we need at least 160 farmers,” he informed, adding there will also be four breeding stations where farmers will be engaged in purebred breeding.
The Association is also looking to establish an abattoir, to international standards, which will prepare quality cuts of goat meat for export. The proposed site for the establishment of the abattoir is Amity Hall in St. Catherine, which has ample water supply.
Mr. Vermont said that the Association will be approaching the St. Catherine Parish Council, which owns the lands, to secure access, and also the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, for the grading of the meat.
“We are going to grade our meat because goat meat is not graded in Jamaica. We have tried it but we never went through the Bureau of Standards but we are going to go through with it this time. We have enough money now to set up things the right way,” he said.
The grant proposal to the FAO, also includes the setting up of a central marketing unit, Mr. Vermont informed. “We are encouraging all goat farmers to come to this central marketing unit and we are going to put a brand name on the meat. We want to put it in every supermarket or sell it to the hotels, which have told us that if we can guarantee them a good supply, they will pay twice the price we are getting for the cuts that they want. So, if we can get twice the price, we can always get the rest easily sold cheap, because the main thing of the Jamaica Goat Farmers Association is to bring down the price of goat meat.”
Only 16 per cent of the goat meat consumed in Jamaica is produced locally, with the other 84 per cent, amounting to about $700 million, being imported.
Mr. Vermont pointed out, however, that most of the imported meat is mutton, which includes sheep. He said that the country needs 2.5 million heads of goat in order to be self-sufficient.
In the meantime, he urged goat farmers to join the Association to benefit from various services and support.

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