JIS News

Increasing the production of goat meat and mutton continues to be a high priority for the Government, said Minister of State for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson.
“The fact is, in the case of mutton, we are satisfying only a minute percentage of consumption,” he noted.
Mr. Hutchinson, who was making his contribution to the 2009/10 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (July 15), said that the Ministry, through the Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP), has “made a significant contribution to the development of a local sheep industry, involving the importation of highly productive doper sheep.”
He said that the sheep industry has been “quietly” making some headway in the local hotel sector, which is a major consumer of lamb. This year, the value of high-end cuts sold to major hotels increased from $1.6 million in 2008 to $6 million in 2009.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has finalised a Memorandum of Understanding with the Heart Trust/NTA to establish a national training programme in small ruminant production at the facility at Hounslow, St. Elizabeth.
More than 245 farmers have been trained in sheep and goat husbandry management at Hounslow; the Bodles Research facility in St. Catherine, and Knockpatrick in Manchester.
“This year, we intend to assist the Jamaica 4H Clubs with their goat breeding programme by expanding their revolving breeding stock scheme for goats and rabbits to benefit an additional 400 clubbites at a cost of $40 million,” Mr. Hutchinson informed.
Additionally, working with the Goat Breeders’ Association, the Ministry will be establishing at least four demonstration sites, to show best practices in the industry, at a cost of $66 million.