• JIS News

    The Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services Division has been allocated $34.4 million in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives.
    The sum comprises $14.4 million to undertake further strengthening of its programme of surveillance and prevention of avian influenza and $20 million for the maintenance of buildings and equipment.
    As stated in the document, the surveillance and prevention programme is aimed at strengthening the veterinary services’ capability to monitor for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPIA/H5NI) strain of the virus in domestic and migratory birds. The components of the programme are: collection and testing of samples from commercial broiler, layer, backyard poultry flocks and wild birds; improving the laboratory capability in conducting tests for avian influenza; and public information and awareness about the disease. Regarding the $20 million allocation for the maintenance of buildings and equipment, this undertaking will entail repairs to equipment, veterinary clinics, the quarantine station, as well as acquisition and installation of laboratory equipment.
    Meanwhile, just over $9 million has been earmarked for the Fishery Inspection Monitoring and Certificate Programme.
    Jamaica has been approved by the European Union (EU) as one of the countries from which fishery products, mainly marine gastropods, conch, lobster, and tilapia, can be imported into the EU market. The Veterinary Services Division is therefore, embarking on a programme to ensure that the standards being applied in Jamaica are equivalent to the EU standards.
    Areas to be addressed are: legislation, official control; conch sampling/testing; potable drinking water testing; laboratory testing of marine gastropods; re-classification and monitoring of Pedro Banks (conch harvesting zones); laboratory testing and analysis of fishery products; residue monitoring programme for tilapia, and training of Veterinary Services Division personnel.

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