KINGSTON — The pig/pork industry is set to benefit from a US$93,000 ($8.4 million) value chain analysis of the industry, which will be carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
The six-month comprehensive study is aimed at underpinning the development of the industry.
Agreement for the initiative was signed by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague, and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, at the Ministry, Hope Garden, today (October 6 ).
Speaking at the signing, Mr. Montague explained that the study differs from previous and existing studies of the industry, as it will go beyond merely taking a census of pig farmers. It will include recommendations to exploit the value added possibilities of pork, as well as forecast industry activities, to facilitate long term planning.
A consultant will be contracted to carry out the study over six months, and will critically assess and describe the present structure of the industry, and make recommendations specifically related to strengthening the value chain, as well as value added possibilities.
This information will assist planners and policy makers in the preparation of a structured plan to guide the orderly development of the industry; examine the distribution pattern of pigs across the island; examine the changes in the industry since 2003, and the methods of disposal of pigs; estimate the mortality rate and identify farmers’ major problems; make a forecast of the pig population; identify areas necessary for industry development; and recommend a system for ensuring currency of data; and ongoing data collection methodology.
“The implementation of the project is complementary to the government of Jamaica’s acknowledgement of the critical role played by the agricultural sector, in the economic and social development of the country,” Mr. Montague said.
He noted that the Ministry has developed short, medium, and long term objectives for the industry, and has adopted a strategically co-ordinated approach, working with the donor community, to facilitate the growth of the sector.
“The pork industry has been selected by the Ministry as one of the priority growth areas within the agricultural sector. This is so because the pork industry has a comparative, as well as a competitive advantage across the Caribbean,” the Minister said.
To this end, he said the Ministry has established a technical working group to examine the issues and challenges facing each of the agricultural sector’s priority industries, to determine key objectives, strategies, and support measures needed to develop these areas.
“Integral to this process will be an emphasis on strengthening the value chain for each sector, as well as looking at value added possibilities,” he noted.
Mr. Montague pointed out that the undertaking of the pork value chain study will enhance the work of the technical working groups, and assist the Ministry to meet its objectives and targets for the industry.
The Minister said that at present, the value of the industry is unknown, and that in essence, this is what the study will determine, as the components of the industry are far-reaching.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter