Live­stock farm­ers urged to boost pro­duc­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

GOAT AND sheep farm­ers are be­ing urged to take steps to in­crease the pro­duc­tion of meat.

This is in or­der to sat­isfy the high de­mand from dis­trib­u­tors, who are be­ing en­cour­aged to sup­port lo­cal pro­duc­tion in­stead of im­port­ing, said act­ing per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of In­dus­try, Com­merce, Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, Regi­nald Bud­han.

He said data pro­vided by the health min­istry’s Vet­eri­nary Pub­lic Health Divi­sion show that the pro­duc­tion of goat and sheep meat fell from just over 963,000 kilo­grams in 2013 to 751,625 kilo­grams in 2014.

He noted that that was de­spite a de­cline in im­ports from more than one mil­lion kilo­grams in 2008 to just un­der 603,000 kilo­grams in 2014, con­se­quent on a re­vi­sion to the tar­iff levied on those prod­ucts.

Bud­han said the re­vi­sion en­tailed the ap­pli­ca­tion of a 20.75 per cent duty on im­ports, in ad­di­tion to the five per cent Com­mon Ex­ter­nal Tar­iff.

“When we (the min­istry) looked at the level of im­ports, we con­cluded that we had to make im­ports less at­trac­tive. So we pre­pared a com­pre­hen­sive anal­y­sis, which was pre­sented to the Min­istry of Fi­nance (in 2012) and we were suc­cess­ful in get­ting the du­ties in­creased,” he ex­plained.

PUR­CHASE LO­CAL MEATS

Bud­han’s re­marks was con­tained in a speech de­liv­ered on his be­half by agri­cul­tural mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor in the Min­istry, San­dor Pike, at the Small Ru­mi­nants As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica’s (SRAJ) an­nual con­fer­ence at the Bo­dles Agri­cul­tural Re­search Sta­tion, Old Har­bour, St Catherine last Thurs­day.

The act­ing per­ma­nent sec­re­tary said the min­istry suc­cess­fully lob­bied dis­trib­u­tors to pur­chase more lo­cally pro­duced meats.

He noted, how­ever, that the de­cline in im­ports has not re­alised a com­men­su­rate in­crease in the lo­cal out­put.

Bud­han pointed out that this was of con­cern to dis­trib­u­tors who have in­di­cated a need for an or­gan­ised sys­tem to con­sis­tently sup­ply the vol­umes of meat that will sat­isfy de­mand.

“That does not ex­ist. The land­scape in Ja­maica is one in which you have pock­ets of pro­duc­tion all over [the coun­try],” he said.

He is en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to “start to work to­gether. Put your­selves into groups and or­gan­ise your oper­a­tions in such a way so that when these traders want (meat), they can get it read­ily,” he added.

That sug­ges­tion was en­dorsed by SRAJ Pres­i­dent Ken­neth King, who agreed that clus­ter­ing “seems to be the way to go (as) it can be help­ful to each other”.

When we (the min­istry) looked at the level of im­ports, we con­cluded that we had to make im­ports less at­trac­tive...

RICARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Some of Camp­bell’s goats.

Karl Cod­ner has ven­tured into sheep rear­ing, as mut­ton is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity with the na­tional palate.

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