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Jamaican pig farmers to develop bio-energy sector

Published:Monday | October 8, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is to assist Jamaican pig farmers in generating bio-energy from their operations so as to boost their income and benefit from the renewable energy sector.

FAO Sub-Regional Livestock Development Officer for the Caribbean, Dr. Cedric Lazarus, said German bio-energy expert Professor Jens Born is due here early next year for talks with the various stakeholders on the initiative.

Lazarus said the project would result in reducing pig farmers operational overheads, while generating additional income through sale of energy to the national power grid, among other possible benefits.

Professor Born has undertaken a similar assignment in Barbados conducting a review of farm waste management applications and offering practical recommendations for the conversion of pig waste to bio-energy.

"He visited approximately 20 pig farmers to assess waste management practices on their farms and options for use of pig manure to produce not only bio-gas, but fertilizer and electricity," Lazarus said.

"He is of the opinion that with the rising price of livestock feed and energy, Caribbean pig farmers should investigate improving on-farm efficiencies and finding additional sources of income from their farm enterprises. One such additional source of income is (the conversion of) pig waste (to bio-energy)," the FAO officer said.

Meanwhile, the FAO is to assist Jamaica implement an aquaculture development plan this year, according to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Roger Clarke.

Clarke, who was addressing an African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Fish II Programme validation workshop, organised by the Ministry and the Belize-based ACP Regional Co-ordinating Unit, earlier this week, said J$22 million would be allocated from the Fisheries Management Development Fund (FMDF), to carry out the exercise.

He said the aquaculture development plan is aimed at contributing to Jamaicas goals of ensuring food security, employment creation, import substitution, and foreign exchange savings.