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CARDI brings sheep, goats to Trinidad

Thursday, February 14 2013

ON January 23, 146 head of selected pedigreed stock, including Katahdin and Dorper sheep and Anglo-Nubians, Alpine and Saanan goat breeds, arrived at the Piarco International Airport, Trinidad. This arrival, out of North America and valued at over US $188,000, signals a potential for some 2,000 improved breeding animals over the next three years for local farmers. These breeds were selected based on, in part, adaptability, weight gain, meat to bone ratio, milk yield.

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Ministry of Food Production (MFP) working together to strengthen and diversify the local small ruminant industry in Trinidad and Tobago, under the Jamaica Government/Trinidad and Tobago Government/Common Fund for Commodities/Caribbean Development Bank-funded Project “Diversification of the Caribbean Livestock Sector through the Production of Small Ruminants”.

It is expected that through this Project, farmers will benefit from improvement in farm income from increased availability of quality breeding stock; improved technical capability and practices of small ruminants’ producers through training; improved quality of output from the farm level (marketing of higher quality small ruminant meats) and stronger farmer groups linked to processors, marketers and consumers.

One of the binding constraints to the expansion and development of the industry is the limited availability of breeding stock. Importation of “new higher-performing breeds” is therefore critical. Under the project, over 250 animals will be imported into Trinidad and Tobago.

Following quarantine at the Ministry of Food Production’s Centeno Livestock Station, under the care of the Animal Production and Health Division, the animals will be bred and their offspring disseminated to farmers.

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has lead responsibility to develop the regional small ruminant industry. The Institute’s contribution towards this effort is through research and development in nutrition, health, breeding and production systems development.

The main objective of the programme is to increase production and productivity at the farm level in order to increase the local supply of quality meat and meat-products and thus enhance the viability of the industry. The major centres for CARDI’s small ruminant research and development activities are Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

In Jamaica, emphasis is on quality breeds and housing. This complements the work in Trinidad and Tobago which seeks to develop forage-based feeding systems using improved, high-yielding grasses and forage legumes. In addition, capacity building of key stakeholders along the value chain and infrastructure strengthening are areas of focus.

CARDI is a Regional organization that seeks to contribute to the economic well-being of Caribbean people by the generation and transfer of appropriate technology through agricultural research for development.

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