Gov't moves to revive local dairy sector

Friday, September 14, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says plans are being put in place for the revitalisation of the country's dairy industry, which will include technical input from overseas experts.

Shaw said that he has had meetings with agriculture ministers from India and Argentina, who have committed to helping Jamaica in a “wide range of areas” to boost the dairy sector.

“I am now working out the details of how we are going to appropriate that technical assistance from them,” he said.

He noted that the Government is committed to doing “whatever is needed” to revive the dairy sector, in which a number of small farmers have invested, including “putting resources in there to help”.

Shaw was addressing a ceremony for the handover of a silo packer at the Bodles Research Station in St Catherine on Wednesday, which will be used in the provision of nutritious feed for the dairy cattle industry.

The silo packer will increase forage compaction, leading to better quality feed and more storage capacity. Packing forage is critical to providing the best quality feeds for animals.

It was secured under the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project, which promotes the protection of rural lives, livelihoods and ecosystems through interventions to strengthen climate-change resilience.

Ja REEACH is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The minister, in expressing gratitude, urged stakeholders in the agriculture sector to take advantage of available technology to boost productivity.

He said that the Bodles Research Station must serve as a “major instrument” integrating research with “on-the-ground action” to improve production and productivity.

Shaw said the ministry is looking to put former sugar lands in St Catherine and Clarendon into cattle rearing and cultivation of fruit orchards and to significantly expand the production of castor bean to supply castor oil for the overseas market.

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