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President of the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association (JPFA), Mrs. Angella Bardowell, has said that despite the challenges faced by members of the association during the 2008/09 fiscal year, pig farmers “stepped up to the plate and produced.”
Mrs. Bardowell was speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the JPFA on September 17, at the Golf View Hotel, in Mandeville, Manchester.
She said that some of the major challenges faced by pig farmers were the global economic recession, the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, praedial larceny and increased operational costs.
The President said that to face the challenges and “move the association forward,” a five-year strategic plan has been developed, focussing on administration, research and development, production, marketing and promotion, and finance and funding.
Mrs. Bardowell said the association also collaborated with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and mounted an advertisement about the JPFA, which prompted enquiries from persons who wanted to get involved in pig farming and to join the group.
“We also wanted to increase our presence at the Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show, and for the first time, the JPFA had its own booth at Denbigh this year,” she said.
The JPFA also recorded other achievements during the 2008/09 year, having been recognised in the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) Youth in Agri-business Awards, with Ms. Kadeon Davis, a young pig farmer, placing second in the large scale category, for her management of a successful livestock enterprise.
Mrs. Bardowell said that the association is currently conducting a survey, “because we need to determine the number of pigs and pig farmers, as we are aware that a number of pig farmers are not a part of the association, and we need to capture that data.” There are an estimated 4,000 pig farmers in Jamaica.
The President said that improvement in husbandry practices and genetic stock, have resulted in better carcass quality and weight, leading to meat processors being able to meet their demand for the Christmas season, and for the first time, all hams for Christmas 2008 were produced locally.
In his address, Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Mark Panton, argued that increasing the production of pork could play a major role in the agricultural sector, as there is a high demand for the meat locally. He also noted that there was also a strong demand for Jamaican pork in the CARICOM market.
“The Jamaica Pig Farmers Association and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries clearly have to work together to increase the productivity of the pig farmers, thereby increasing their livelihood and by extension, help to develop and to drive the Jamaican economy,” he emphasised.

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