Less reliance on antibiotics critical for growth of small ruminant sector, says GreenTuesday, July 13, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica†—†Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, says proper care of small ruminants to include less reliance on use of antibiotics is critical to achieving rapid growth of the industry.
Noting that the resistance of parasites to antibiotics has been a long-standing issue locally and internationally, Green said there have been reports of resistance to medications that treat parasites from countries such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Spain, France, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the United States.††
“In the United Kingdom, parasitic gastroenteritis remains the number one killer of sheep, accounting for more than a quarter of deaths between 2005 and 2019. In fact, the problem of worms in lambs has led to losses through reduced growth and death at an annual estimated cost of £84 million,” Green said.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony for a first-of-its-kind online five-day training course in the Management of Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning in Canada.
The agriculture minister acknowledged that while there are many factors that can contribute to resistance such as a weakened immune system of the animals, the continued misuse of drugs over the many years has built up a population of resistant worms. It was therefore important, he said, that farmers look at alternative measures to effectively control these parasites.†
Among the objectives of the training are that farmers will select animals for breeding that show natural resistance to parasites, ensure that the animals are receiving proper nutrition to develop their immune system and practise the proper management of pastures.
Green said the ministry has embarked on several new initiatives aimed at boosting small ruminant production. This includes a special Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer Project and the transformation of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board into the Small Ruminant Livestock Board.
He said plans are being fast-tracked for the transformation of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board into a small ruminant livestock board. This, the minister said, is critical in providing overall policy direction in helping the industry to grow.
The ministry said another initiative is a special Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer Project for the small ruminant sector, targeting 6,000 farmers, where $50 million is dedicated towards providing three straws to each farmer of any breed of their choice to help them expand their stock and an embryo transfer free of cost.
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