Live­stock: P7

Ef­forts to ad­dress poor pro­duc­tion lev­els of sheep and goat

Fiji Sun - - Weather / Tv, Movie Guide - LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL

An ex­ten­sive re­view of our sheep and goat in­dus­try has es­tab­lished a lack of ge­net­ics, man­age­ment and nu­tri­tion be­ing the core rea­son for poor pro­duc­tion lev­els. The re­view was con­ducted by an Aus­tralia farmer who is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Farm­world In­ter­na­tional, Graham Reimers. Mr Reimers has re­ceived our Gov­ern­ment’s sup­port to in­crease live­stock num­bers and ul­ti­mately re­duce im­ports. He ex­plained Fiji pro­duces less than 10 per cent of do­mes­tic con­sump­tion of sheep and goat meat while more than 90 per cent are im­ported from Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Turn­ing around and nu­tri­tion

In or­der to ad­dress the is­sues lead­ing to poor pro­duc­tion, Mr Reimers said they will in­tro­duce the lat­est va­ri­ety of won­der graze for feed­ing. “This one el­e­ment has the po­ten­tial of to­tally rev­o­lu­tion­al­is­ing the graz­ing for live­stock in Fiji for­ever,” he said.

This whole ini­tia­tive is part of the Fiji Goat and Sheep Development project launched the past week. Mr Reimers said they were go­ing roll out train­ing pro­grammes start­ing from grass root level for both sheep and goat farm­ers and Agri­cul­ture Min­istry staff. “To be quite hon­est, at the mo­ment it is the case of the blind lead­ing the blind,” he em­pha­sised. “That is why we have not had the progress which we should have had in the past ten years but that is about to change. “We need to be able to pro­duce prod­ucts, prime lamb prod­ucts, equiv­a­lent to that of Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

“It is not dif­fi­cult and we would also like to in­crease the sheep and goat farm­ers through­out Fiji.” Mr Reimers said they will also ad­dress the nu­tri­tion prob­lem with the in­tro­duc­tion of the new va­ri­ety of Vaivai tree (Leu­caena Leu­co­cephala). “Leu­caena is a trop­i­cal legume, high in pro­tein, ex­tremely nu­tri­tional and it will make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to live stock farm­ers here in Fiji.” The project even­tu­ally is be­ing aimed to dou­ble prof­its for sheep and goat farm­ers as well as make this a lu­cra­tive in­dus­try to in­vest in.

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