Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Gov’t providing $70 million to assist dairy farmers

Published:Sunday | July 25, 2021 | 11:38 AM
Minister of Agriculture Floyd Green addressing a handing over ceremony held at the Island Dairies Limited dairy farm in Goshen, St Elizabeth on July 23, 2021 – Contributed photo.

The Government is providing approximately $70 million in loan funding assistance to dairy farmers.

Minister of Agriculture Floyd Green has indicated that the funds are being provided through the Jamaica Dairy Development Board's (JDDB) Dairy Concessionary Loan Programme.

“Through this financial scheme, farmers can improve the quality of [their livestock and] increase [their] herd numbers,” Green said.

He was speaking during a ceremony for the handing over of silage to the St Elizabeth Dairy Development Co-operative (JDDB) on Friday, July 23, at the Island Dairies farm in Goshen in the parish.

Silage is a type of fodder derived from green foliage crops which have been preserved by acidification, achieved through fermentation.

It can be fed to cattle, sheep, and other ruminants (cud-chewing animals).

The silaging initiative is being undertaken by the co-operative in collaboration with Island Dairies.

Green indicated that the Ministry has partnered with the National People's Cooperative Bank of Jamaica Limited, First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Limited, and Sagicor Bank on the funding facility for dairy farmers, adding that “we are looking to get more entities on board.”

He encouraged other financial sector stakeholders to design products that can also be accessed by farmers.

Green indicated that the Ministry was on a mission to grow the local dairy sector and modernise its operations.

“Last year we rehabilitated about 78.7 acres of pastures, and we established 106 acres of fodder banks, and throughout the fodder conservation programme last year, we produced 224 tons of silage,” he informed.

The Minister added that “we ensured that we trained 28 farmers, as we are creating [an] enabling environment [for them].”

As part of the day's activities, Green also visited Bogue Hill Dairies in St Elizabeth.

He was accompanied on the visits by officials from the Ministry, members of the JDDB, as well as personnel from the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Nutramix and Hi- Pro.

There was also a live demonstration of the silaging process by animal nutritionist at Hi-Pro, Khalil Brown.

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