Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda has advised dairy farmers that they will have to boost production in order to be competitive.
“If we don’t find the answer to bringing our average production up from where it is now to a minimum of eight to 10 litres (per cow) in the country, we are not competitive,” Samuda said.
“You are not going to be in a position to offer the product to the processors at a price where they will make money and be able to pay you more,” the agriculture minister added.
He was speaking at the handing over of $5 million worth of fertilisers to dairy farmers from Clarendon, St Elizabeth and St Thomas at the Rhymesbury Dairy Farmers Cooperative building in Clarendon on Friday.
The donation represent a collaboration among the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB), Newport Fersan Jamaica Limited and Nutramix.
The fertilisers will be used to improve the quality of the grass consumed by the cattle, thereby enhancing the amount and nutritional value of the milk produced.
Samuda said the Government will be providing support to the sector as it looks to increase production to 20 million litres of milk by 2020.
Some 13.13 million litres were produced in 2017.
“We must assist farmers to get inexpensive capital; money that does not overburden them. The Development Bank of Jamaica and the People’s Cooperative Bank are coming into play to assist farmers in getting capital that is affordable,” he said.
He further gave the farmers of Rhymesbury his commitment to repair damaged roads as soon as possible.
The agriculture minister commended the JDDB for its role in expanding the cattle population through the heifer redeployment project.
Managing Director of Newport Fersan, Dennis Valdez, said his company takes its role in the development of the agricultural sector seriously.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves and the lives of our farmers,” he said.