‘It is very important that you know where to cut’
June 24, 2011
‘It is very important that you know where to cut’

A three-day workshop on the slaughtering and handling of meat ended here yesterday, Thursday, June 23.{{more}}

The workshop was aimed at getting those involved in the livestock sector to increase capacity in meat production.

Chief Agricultural Officer Reuben Robertson, in his address at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, said that agriculture in St Vincent was still skewed towards crops.

However, although crops contributed to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and there was need to modernize the crop subsector, when compared to the livestock and fisheries sector, its contribution to the GDP was significantly less.

“It is saying that we have significant potential,” Robertson explained.

He further explained that currently this country imports in excess of EC$42 million in meat and meat products.

More so, the chief agricultural officer said that while persons may be of the view that we are self sufficient in the supply of pork, there was a deficiency in special cuts which were primarily used in the hospitality industry.

Robertson said that based on statistics, this country imports EC$4.6 million in pork and pork products and special cuts.

Although persons may say that we need to increase our own production, Robertson said that there were many constraints preventing this from taking place right away, including the need to ensure that local farmers are following the health and safety standards and that the capacity is there for producers to produce.

Richard Gibson, butcher and the workshop’s practical facilitator, explained that the aim of the workshop was to let all involved in the industry know the anatomy of the animals.

“It is very important that you know where to cut,” Gibson explained.

He further contended that the face of the typical consumer was changing, adding that those purchasing meat here were no different to those buying in more developed countries.

“They’re working, they’re busy, they don’t want to go home and chop, chop, chop,” he said, adding that the butcher needed to go the extra mile to ensure that the consumer gets value for their money.

“Each section of the animal has its own purpose and tenderness, and some butchers tend to mix everything up – this is where butchers get a bad reputation.”

Camille Crichton, representing the Commonwealth Secretariat, said that the workshop was crafted in response to a request by the Ministry of Agriculture to the Secretariat to conduct a workshop aimed at improving the quality of meat products in St Vincent.

She maintained that the growth of the livestock industry continued to be hampered by issues relating to hygiene and high production costs.

“The training programme is to help those involved in the meat business to identify ways to improve meat products,” Crichton said. (DD)