In light of the continued importation of beef and beef products to satisfy local demand, Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries, Roger Clarke has called on stakeholders in the cattle industry to meet with him to put in place tangible solutions for the growth of the industry. Minister Clarke made this call at the Annual General Meeting and Cattle Appraisal of the Red Poll Breeders Society yesterday (July 19) in Manchester.
According to Minister Clarke in the 1990’s the sector was producing some 18.21 thousand metric tonnes of beef but that was significantly reduced in 2010 to 5.26 thousand metric tonnes. The void in production is now being filled through the importation of the commodity, given that last year the country imported some 34.72 thousand metric tonnes of beef products.
If the current importation trend to fill local demand continues, the Agriculture Minister warned that all industries comprising the agricultural sector will be decimated Pointing to challenges faced by the cattle industry, Minister Clarke informed that pasture development was one of the major sore points plaguing the subsectors expansion. “Pasture development is one of the major challenges facing the industry and I believe that we could make a case [to donor agencies] for help in that direction,” he explained.
Commenting on the current drought conditions faced by some corn farmers in the United States, Minister Clarke said as a result, the local cattle sector will be plagued by more challenges and as such all efforts must be made to develop indigenous feed sources.
The Minister said the country possessed the energy and the capabilities to move the industry forward and therefore called on organizations such as the Bodles Research Station to refocus its energies on areas which matters most.“I believe that we have the expertise to move the industry forward as some of our breeds are being threatened because of the [limited] numbers,” he opined.
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