Mon | May 25, 2020

$2.1B fallout estimated for fisheries sector

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2020 | 3:42 PM
J.C Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries - File photo

Jamaica’s fisheries sector will experience an estimated immediate fallout of approximately $2.1 billion from losses of local and international sales in light of the global impact of the coronavirus ( COVID-19).

That’s according to J.C Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries.

Hutchinson today told a media briefing that the National Fisheries Authority has met with the commercial fisheries sector to discuss, among other things, the fallout in the sector as a result of COVID-19, especially as it relates to a downturn in export market for lobster.

He said fisheries officers have also been ensuring that the Ministry of Health guidelines and information are passed on to artisanal fishers.

Additional meetings will be convened with the stakeholders to craft a detailed response to the crisis.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson indicated that there are adequate food supplies in the country.

Regarding egg production, he said output is running at approximately 22% over last year, noting that the country is averaging approximately 15 million eggs per month.

According to Hutchinson, this level of production is expected to be maintained through to the end of May. 

Additionally, he informed that consultations with the pig/pork industry revealed that there are adequate supplies of pork in the marketplace and sufficient animals in the system for slaughter for the next few months. 

This will be adequate to meet normal demand, according to him.

And he disclosed that chicken meat production will average approximately 2.7 million kgs per week for the next nine weeks, up to early May 2020.

It was noted that chicken meat represents approximately 80% of Jamaica’s meat protein supply. 

Hutchinson said  at this time, the industry is not seeing any immediate factors that will cause any significant disruption in its capacity to continue production beyond this point, or to prevent the conversion of the chickens now in the field and being hatched in the next three weeks from being processed.

He said effort will be made to reduce issues of bottlenecks and disruption in distribution if and when they arise.

He added that the Ministry is working with the private sector to rationalise and manage excess production of meats and eggs so as to ensure continued support to local Industries and to increase demand and movement of these products.

Consumers are being encouraged to utilise local produce and products that are available and may end up being in excess supply.

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