Millions in support for poultry farmers
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has launched a $42.9 million support project for small poultry farmers, which will enable them to achieve improved levels of productivity and profit.
Under the All-Island Small Farmer Poultry Project, being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), poultry farmers across the island who are registered with RADA will receive chicks, feed, and training in best practices for production and processing.
Over 2,000 farmers are slated to benefit from the initiative, which falls under the ministry's two-year Livestock Development Project.
In his address at the launch held at RADA's St Andrew parish office on Wednesday, portfolio minister Derrick Kellier said that the programme was an important step in ensuring food security for the people of Jamaica.
"Poultry meat is the number one consumed meat in Jamaica and is a shared market by both commercial and backyard farmers. These small farmers have invested heavily in these operations, and the ministry, through its extension services, has ensured that the farmers have the available resources and training to be successful," he stated.
Senior Livestock Specialist at RADA Maxine Brown shared that the training would equip farmers in new and improved technologies in poultry production.
She noted that the market for livestock was dynamic and required constant revision of production practices to meet the demands of the industry.
"We have to pay close attention to our production practices, work at creating new breeds, and improve current breeds," Brown said.
Over the years, poultry production has evolved from being predominantly a backyard operation to a commercialised enterprise providing 70 per cent of the poultry consumed locally.
Production has increased from 104,502,533kg in 2010 to 112,384,035kg in 2015, the highest level to date.