Meat processors islandwide have been urged to modernize their facilities, in order to boost the output of by-products which can be derived from animals reared for consumption. Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, contends that this move will significantly reduce foreign exchange expenditure on by-product imports, which can be produced locally, while generating employment.
Speaking at the Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) pig census/value chain analysis workshop, staged under a US$15 million Work Bank-funded Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), at the Alhambra Inn, Kingston, on February 26, Mr. Clarke cited the “sound footing” on which the pig sub-sector has been placed, consequent on significant strides made by the farmers and other stakeholders.
“When one looks at the level of investment that is being put in the pig industry, one understands that these (stakeholders) are very serious about the growth and development of the industry. That level of investment cannot be made to come to naught,” he said.
Against the background of the country’s annual food import bill, averaging some US$800 million, coupled with other economic challenges, Mr. Clarke asserted that “production is going to be the order of the day”, while assuring that the Ministry and Government will endeavour to extend all the assistance necessary to ensure the industry’s sustainability. The REDI, which is being jointly implemented by the Ministry and JSIF, aims to empower targeted agricultural stakeholders in business development and capacity building.
The census and value study is aimed at assisting the Ministry and industry stakeholders to meet established objectives and targets for the sector. It will also provide data to guide planning and investment decisions by interests at all levels. This report also outlines 10 critical areas for improvement, which are opportunities for improving the value and resulting benefits of Jamaica’s pig and pork industry.