The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is injecting US$2.5 million into initiatives to improve production of small ruminants.
The money is being provided through the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) project, and will go towards efforts to improve breeding, provide training, develop the value chain, and expansion of herd through rapid multiplication techniques.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, in his recent contribution to the budget debate, said the effort is aimed at boosting production to satisfy local demand for mutton.
“Only 15 per cent of our current consumption is being satisfied by local production. We are confident that the quality of our goat and mutton meat is such that any increased production will be absorbed locally, given our taste preference,” he said.
Turning to other livestock, he said that Jamaica is almost self-sufficient in poultry meat, eggs and nearing self-sufficiency in pork, while beef and dairy production has declined. He said that efforts will be intensified to boost production of dairy.
“Institutional consumption is being targeted as the major strategy to stimulate increased production of milk, particularly, as it relates to the school feeding programme. Once this increased demand is stimulated, then the resources of the cess on dairy products will be used to provide loans to improve pastures, acquire stocks and for retooling. At the same time, we will intensify our research in indigenous alternative feeds,” the Minister said.
By Tracey Thompson