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MP’s revolving-pig project offers opportunities for St Ann residents

Published:Saturday | June 22, 2019 | 12:30 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Melrose Rumble
Melrose Rumble

Residents in the North West St Ann constituency of Dr Dayton Campbell have welcomed the member of parliament’s (MP) recently initiated revolving-pig project aimed at establishing income for unemployed persons in the parish.

The project began in August 2018 with the purchase of 34 pigs, which are being used as breeding stock to establish a pool to distribute the animals to residents.

With about 300 animals now ready, the first phase of distribution has started, and residents are pleased.

Melrose Rumble, who was one of those tasked with raising the initial lot, is happy with the project, saying it will help residents.

“Dr Campbell is the one who gave them (pigs) to us to raise so that we can give back to the community to anybody who wishes to have them to raise,” she said.

“I really do it to help other people so that when the time comes and the MP wants to give one or two to other people, it will help them. He does this to help us, and if we take good care of it, it will take us a long way.”

Another farmer who is helping to implement the project, Egbert Brown, pointed out: “From you get one, a next one get one, and a next one get one, it will make everybody feel good and feel happy.”

Campbell told The Gleaner that the project came about after he reviewed the Social Development Commission’s community profile, which showed that unemployment was one of the main issues affecting residents and that, of those who are employed, 50 per cent are involved in agriculture.

“We bought 34 pigs. Of course, we have to grow them to the size where they can then be put out for reproductive purposes, then they would reproduce,” Campbell pointed out.

“They go through gestation for three months, three weeks and three days, then after the piglets are born, we keep them up to six weeks before distribution. We are in the first distribution phase currently. We have quite a bit of them now that we are actively in the process of distributing,” he said.

Good response

“The response has been very good, and it’s from the young and the old, anybody who wants to better their livelihood. Residents now feel like they have an opportunity to do something for themselves. It is a project that can accommodate anybody except those who have religious beliefs [that exclude them from rearing pigs].”

He said that pigs were chosen for the project because they reproduce much more abundantly than goats or cows and can generate substantial income over a reasonable period of time.

The project is sustained by input from the constituency office, which works closely with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority on the project.