Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, is advising small ruminant farmers that creating their own cocktail of medicine to treat parasites in animals is not sustainable and will lead to greater production costs.
“In Jamaica, we hear from our farmers the stories that there is significant resistance to the main classes of drugs available for treatment, and as a result, a number of our goat and sheep farmers have resorted to mixing various drugs to create cocktails in an attempt to gain some level of effectiveness. The reality is that these practices are unsustainable. The drugs are costly and they are contributing to increased cost to produce the animals,” he said.
The Minister was addressing the opening ceremony for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) online course for farmers in the Management of Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants, on Tuesday (July 13).
The objectives of the free five-week course are to implement plans to prevent the entry of worms on to the farm, management of worms using various options and proper administering of treatment by farmers.
“While there are many factors that can contribute to resistance, such as weakened immune system of the animal or poor management practices of the farmers, it has been found that the continued misuse of drugs over many years has built up a population of resistant worms. Therefore, it is critical that we look at alternative measures to effectively control these parasites,” Mr. Green said.
He noted that the workshop is a welcome step in addressing this issue by looking at alternative measures that can be taken, thus ensuring a reduction in the reliance on drugs.
“Through this training course, our farmers will be exposed to strategies such as choosing animals for breeding that show natural resistance to parasites, ensuring that your animals are receiving proper nutrition to develop their immune system, and proper management of pastures,” Mr. Green said.
The Minister said it is his belief that these alternative strategies will not only prove effective but also will ultimately help farmers to reduce their production costs as well as contribute to the overall well-being of their animals and give them greater returns on their investment.
“We want to ensure that our famers are employing the best tactics to ensure the greatest return. We want to move our goat meat production from satisfying 15 per cent of the demand to a state where. in Jamaica, we can say we are fully sufficient in goat meat,” Mr. Green said.