June 6, 2014
Farmers who lost pigs in flood get replacements

The first four of over 65 targeted pig producers who are to be assisted under the recovery programme for the agricultural sector, earlier this week received replacement stock for animals lost in the December floods of 2013.

On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar handed over the first batch of pigs {{more}}to four farmers at Georgetown.

Wednesday’s handing over will be followed by the distribution of another 64 pigs on two other occasions.

This assistance is being provided under the Recovery Program for the Agricultural Sector, through which farmers affected by the trough system of December 2013 are being provided with assistance to restart their farming operations at advanced levels.

According to a release from the Ministry of Agriculture, the livestock sector recorded a loss of animals and infrastructural development (housing and fencing) amounting to some $873,000 which has seriously affected especially the smaller farmers.

In response, the country sought and received assistance from the FAO, which came forward with the US$ 320,000 “Emergency assistance for the recovery of vulnerable farmers affected by the December 2013 rains and winds” project. In support of this, the Government, through the Farmer Support Company (FSC), contributed a sum of $750,000 to the efforts at recovery.

Caesar stated that the pigs are being provided through the assistance of the FSC and that in addition to being given replacement stock, the objective is to ensure that the farmers are placed in a better position than they were before the disaster. Thus, a number of these affected farmers have already been recipients of the two per cent loan being offered by the FSC, to “ensure that they can build proper houses for these animals,” which on most occasions have been reared in close proximity to the river banks.

The Minister also noted that strategic planning for the livestock sector is being pursued as follows: improvement in the livestock genetic pool through assistance from the government of Cuba; and the provision of artificial insemination for cattle, pigs, sheep and goats to all farmers.

The Minister also noted that the expected increase in production and productivity in the livestock sector is being supported by the pursuit of a “lucrative marketing opportunity” in Grenada. In addition to working in-house to set the proper protocols in place, he also stated: “Very soon, the local Ministry of Agriculture will be working with the Ministry of Agriculture in Grenada to finalise the documents, so that at a national level, we can sign off on an enhancement of the trade relation in livestock in this country.”

The distribution of pigs will continue over the next one and a half months.