The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has completed work on a draft Swine Sector Review for Jamaica's pig industry. This review forms part of an undertaking by the FAO in four Caribbean countries, under the organisation's Regional Swine Influenza Project, through which requests for the document's preparation were made. The other countries in which similar reviews were drafted are: Barbados, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking at the recent Jamaica Pig Farmers Association (JPFA) annual general meeting, at the Golf View Hotel, in Mandeville, Manchester, FAO Sub-regional Livestock Development Officer for the Caribbean, Dr. Cedric Lazarus, said the report outlines current information on the status of the local pig sub-sector, and provides guidance for planning, development and execution of policies and programmes islandwide.
He pointed out that Jamaica's 10-chapter swine sector review includes background information on input delivery systems, the market chain, production systems, and environmental, and animal health issues, among other matters. Dr. Lazarus said the document can be pivotal in piloting several undertakings in the country for which it is prepared. These include soliciting donor funding to finance developments related to the sector.
"This review (for Jamaica) is intended to be used by government officials or government agents engaged in national development planning; international agencies; and Non-governmental organizations," he noted.
The document, copies of which were presented to the JPFA Executive, is also being made available to the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Its development was spearheaded by Barbadian Consultant, Gerry Thomas, who conducted reviews in all four countries where the exercise was carried out. "He came to Jamaica and interviewed government officials as well as members of the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association. Additionally, he visited about 10 farms across the island," Dr. Lazarus outlined, while urging the JPFA to review and verify the document’s contents as soon as possible.
He said that on completion of the JPFA's review, which should be done by year-end, the FAO will seek the government's validation and approval of the document, before making it accessible to the general public.