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Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says Jamaica must adopt modern technologies in order to improve and expand the livestock sector.

“We in Jamaica are too small. We do not have the resources to develop the type of herd sizes that would make us able to supply our needs.  What therefore we have to do is…to turn to the adoption of appropriate technology,” he said.

He was speaking at the official opening of a small ruminant Reproductive and Fertility Laboratory at the Hounslow Demonstration Centre in St. Elizabeth on Friday (Feb.19).

Minister Samuda said that Jamaica has the capacity to produce the best breeds of sheep through the use of embryo transplant technology.

“The full potential has not yet been realised and the development of animals through embryo transplant can be such that they can be stored for years,” he pointed out.

He is encouraging more young people to join the agricultural sector as they are ones that will help to introduce new technologies.

“The future of your country depends on the level of commitment that you bring to the agricultural sector and that is why I will spare nothing to encourage you, to support you, to finance you and to ensure that you apply the technology as it develops,” Minister Samuda said.

The Hounslow reproductive laboratory was established by the Ministry through collaboration with the Common Fund for Commodities, Government of New Zealand and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

It will enable artificial insemination and embryo transfer to significantly increase and diversify the production of goat and sheep. It will also provide technical services to farmers who have concerns about animal diseases.

Minister Samuda said the laboratory will added value to the agricultural sector in St. Elizabeth and the wider western Jamaica.

During the function, Minister Samuda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lydford Women’s Goat Farmers Group from St. Ann for the Hounslow facility to supply the group with four ewes and one ram per year for a goat revolving programme.

The first two animals were presented to the group’s President, Marcia Davis.