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FAO Helps Jamaica Beef Up Pork Production

by 5m Editor
10 October 2011, at 9:05am

JAMAICA - With financial help from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association (JPFA) has been laying the groundwork to grow the pig population and improve and maintain standards in pork production and processing.

According to The Gleaner, with US$37,000 from the FAO over the past year it has undertaken a number of initiatives, including identification and registration of pig farmers island-wide, with a view to encouraging membership in its 23 parish chapters.

"The project ends in November and a lot of it (money) went into the training of farmers, setting up parish chapters and also train the farmers in using technology to increase production and profitability," Angella Bardowell, immediate past-president of the association, told The Gleaner citing this as a key component of the national effort to achieve food security.

She went on to explain the importance of training some 265 farmers in business management. Said Ms Bardowell: "In order for them to pay back that loan, they have to be able to manage the business properly and so training was done to facilitate that in business management to work out their production costs. That way, they know exactly how much the product should be sold for because sometimes when the farmer is unable to feed his pigs, he will tend to undersell. This way, they will be able to make informed decisions."

With pork accounting for 40 per cent of meat consumed globally through some 52 products and by-products, Ms Bardowell is confident her association's due diligence will pay off when its 'A Healthy Choice' marketing campaign kicks off. In fact, the JPFA has undertaken a complete review of its operations to position it to contribute to the economic development of Jamaica, in particular in the area of achieving food security.

Over the past nine years, it has promoted modernisation of piggery operations and introduced new technologies. However, it has been unable to get an accurate count of the number of pig farmers and their animals, a situation it is anticipating will be addressed by a census to be conducted by the Bodles Research Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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