Kingston – Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr, says poultry farmers have commenced benefitting from the JCA$50 million subsidiary programme, aimed at minimising production costs.
Charles said while the ministry is committed to facilitating the poultry industry’s expansion, if the price of chicken becomes “astronomical” then “we have to protect Jamaicans”.
He told the Middlesex Broilers Farmers Association’s annual general meeting over the last weekend that while there are policy mechanisms to protect small farmers, his primary mission is to boost production for domestic consumption, and exports to CARICOM and other international markets.
“We want you [poultry farmers] to continue to expand your business,” Charles said while underscoring the need for dialogue to identify “practical solutions that benefit our farmers and consumers”.
He said the Ministry’s Research and Development Division has been mandated to collaborate with stakeholders and work towards making the cost of chicken feed more affordable by utilising local production inputs.
Charles said that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has been pivotal in training and providing farmers with resources to boost outputs, while pointing out that this support will continue to ensure Jamaica does not rely solely on chicken imports to meet domestic consumption demand.
He told the meeting that he met with the two major local poultry producers, who indicated their endorsement of the Ministry’s initiative to support farmers by instituting systems to fill any potential temporary shortage that may arising and spur the sector’s expansion.
“The companies also expressed their continued commitment to the poultry sector through a multibillion-dollar investment in the expansion of their hatcheries aimed at strengthening our local capacity to meet demand,” Charles said.
He pointed while pointing out that local producers have been fulfilling approximately 60 per cent of local demand. (CMC)