Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J. C. Hutchinson has endorsed the Latin American Small Ruminants Programme and the Caribbean Small Ruminants Capacity Building Programme launched in St. Elizabeth.
The programmes seek to improve the stock of sheep and goat in the country, while training persons in animal husbandry with particular emphasis on small ruminants.
Speaking at the Hounslow Demonstration and Training Centre on Thursday, June 16, Minister Hutchinson said the initiatives will provide immense benefits not only to Jamaica, but also to countries across the Caribbean.
He said there has been a high level of mutton and chevron imports into the Caribbean, and the development of the small ruminants programme at both the production and capacity building levels, will ultimately lead to a reduction in imports.
He added that the Government was particularly pleased with the capacity building aspect of the programme, which will ensure that major scientific developments take place at the Hounslow Animal Research Centre.
The project is being implemented jointly by the Agriculture Ministries of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, with the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) being the executing agency.
The initiative is funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) and the Government of New Zealand. It involves seven Caribbean countries: Jamaica, St. Lucia, Guyana, Belize, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Grenada.
In addition, Minister Hutchinson said so far, Jamaica has seen tremendous developments in its small ruminant stock.
“This project …has facilitated the further rehabilitation of the Hounslow Demonstration and Training Centre as a pilot training site for the region by improving the carrying capacity of the lands to support the government’s expanded small ruminants… (programmes) inclusive of locally improved goat and sheep breeding and establishing demo housing as part of the training programme,” Minister Hutchinson stated.
Meanwhile, Scientific Officer at CARDI, Norman Gibson, said very soon the Caribbean could be producing most, if not all the mutton and chevron required in the region.
He stated that so far, some 80 persons have been trained, as part of the capacity building programme.
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