The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is reporting that despite the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the production of chicken meat, eggs, and domestic food crops increased in 2021 when compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
Portfolio Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr., provided an update while making his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 17.
He said there was a 10.4 per cent growth in domestic crop output, moving from 697,679 tonnes in 2020 to 770,456 tonnes in 2021.
“That means that while we were on lockdown, our farmers were out (from as early) as 4:00 a.m… working in the soil, toiling so that we could produce,” he said.
As it relates to output of chicken meat, Minister Charles Jr. said that production rebounded from approximately 124,000 kilograms in 2020 to 125,000 kilograms last year.
“The livestock sector has been one of the hardest hit over the past year with concerns of shortages and increased prices, but I am pleased to report that chicken meat production is on the rise. Chicken meat production rebounded from a decline in 2020,” he noted.
Minister Charles Jr. said work was undertaken with the large companies – Jamaica Broilers and Caribbean Broilers, in addition to contractors and small farmers “and you can see the positive results in that regard”.
He said that egg production has also been on an upward trajectory, noting that this is good news, as eggs provide an alternative and affordable source of protein.
“We are going to be focused on driving increased production, particularly at a time when we are concerned as a country on what we can get imported.
“We are going to be focused on ensuring that we guarantee for our country a consistent supply of meat, eggs and alternatives to wheat. In the end, that will [redound] to self-sufficiency,” Minister Charles Jr. told the House, noting that Jamaicans will also be provided with more nutritious products for a healthier lifestyle.
Minister Charles Jr. commended all the island’s farmers and their various associations that have contributed to the “record levels of production in our country”.
“We are calling on every single woman, man, boy and girl in Jamaica to come onboard. This is about all-hands-on-deck as we steer Jamaica not only towards producing but doing more with what we produce,” he said.
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