Regional

VIDEO: NW St Ann off the mark with revolving pig project

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 08, 2019

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In St Ann North Western, a thriving, revolving pig project which began in 2018 has been assisting residents financially, following concerns raised about unemployment.

Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Dayton Campbell, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer North & East recently, said an assessment done by the Social Development Commission (SDC) in the 2017/18 financial year revealed that unemployment was the second major issue among residents.

The assessment, Campbell said, also revealed that 50 per cent of those employed were a part of the agriculture sector.

“Coming out of that we decided that we wanted to develop a more sustainable agriculture product than just giving 25 chickens or giving some seeds and fertiliser. So we decided that we wanted to do a livestock project,” the MP said.

He told Observer North & East that five years ago the constituency had turned to goats and cattle but the project failed due to the animals' vulnerability to illnesses.

“I tried with goats, but goats, when they reproduce, it's only one or two; and I find that they are very susceptible to illnesses and also to the praedial larcenists. As such, that project didn't necessarily revolve in the way we wanted it to and the cattle are the same thing. So, we decided on pigs,” he stated.

Campbell said 34 pigs were then purchased last August and raised on 'mother farms' in the constituency's four divisions — Bamboo, Sturge Town, Dry Harbour, and Brown's Town.

“Traditionally, what they would do is just give a pair to persons and say 'when they reproduce give your neighbour one', but you know selfishness always chips in and people don't really keep their end of the bargain,” he explained.

With the revolving pig project, however, the leadership of each division is expected to manage operations.

“When they reproduce on these mother farms we give them out. On average, a pig is going to have 10 piglets. So if we bought 34 pigs you'll understand that the first cycle, which is three months, three weeks and three days, we'll have about 300 pigs plus, give or take. Then that is when we would raise them for six weeks then give them out. That way, we have greater control out of it and we can at least two cycles for the year so we will be able to distribute over 300 twice per year — and that's essentially how we got to where we are right now,” Campbell said of the $2-million project.

“It has been going well, because we have greater monitoring control over it and RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) comes out and check so you know there is greater accountability in this scheme. And we have developed a form so that when we are handing them out we know who gets them so that we can track it, and RADA and everybody can monitor it so that there is transparency and full accountability. So it's been going well. Persons are very happy,” the MP added.


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