The Jamaica Dairy Development Board will be donating milk to prenatal clinics at hospitals across the island in order to boost the nutritional health of expectant mothers.
The hospitals are the Victoria Jubilee, Kingston; Linstead in St. Catherine; May Pen in Clarendon; and Cornwall Regional in St. James.
Three litres of milk will be delivered to the facilities per week over the next three months.
Additionally, the board will donate five cases of milk per month for three months to the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in Mona, St. Andrew.
The initiative of the board is in observance of World Milk Day on June 1.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) observation seeks to heighten awareness of the importance of milk as a global food.
Speaking at the launch on Tuesday (May 31) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, Chief Executive Officer of the board, Hugh Graham, said the entity continues to put measures in place to boost milk production.
Jamaica produces 25 percent of the over 60 million litres of milk consumed annually.
He informed that within the last two years, 300 animals have been added to the national herd.
Of the number, 100 were distributed to educational institutions and 200 to small farmers. He said the aim is to add another 300 animals within the next 12 months.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, pointed to the need to increase production and consumption of milk to meet nutritional needs.
He said that per capita consumption of milk is way below the standard required for normal physiological development.
“We should not only speak about food security, we should also talk about nutritional security,” he said.
Mr. Stanberry informed that the Ministry is collaborating with the Ministries of Education, Youth and Information, and Health, to get more Jamaicans to drink milk.
FAO representative to Jamaica, the Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Jerome Thomas, said World Milk Day is in recognition of the multiple benefits of milk consumption and production.
He said that in addition to improving the nutritional status of children, increased production promotes opportunities for farmers and producers in rural areas.