Partners of the Drink Real Milk Campaign, (from left) Richard Randohie, chief executive officer of Seprod Group of Companies; Hedda Rose Pitter, business development manager of Newport Fersan (Jamaica) Limited; Matthew Lyn, chief operations officer of CB Group and Hugh Graham, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board at Terra Nova Hotel on Thursday.

Partners of the Drink Real Milk Campaign, (from left) Richard Randohie, chief executive officer of Seprod Group of Companies; Hedda Rose Pitter, business development manager of Newport Fersan (Jamaica) Limited; Matthew Lyn, chief operations officer of CB Group and Hugh Graham, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board at Terra Nova Hotel on Thursday.

The Caribbean Broilers Group, Seprod Limited, Newport Fersan and the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB) has partnered for the launch of a ‘Drink Real Milk’ campaign aimed at reducing the country’s milk import bill by more than 33 per cent or some $2 billion by year-end.

CEO of Jamaica Dairy Development Board Hugh Graham, who met with the stakeholders at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston yesterday for the launch of the initiative, noted that Jamaica is currently spending US$52 million (J$6.2 billion) on the importation of milk and milk-based products annually, even as manufacturers continue to seek cheaper solutions from trade liberalisation.

Importation has led to a sharp and consistent decline in the annual production of local milk from 38.8 million litres in 1992 — except for the period 1996-1999 — to 12 million litres in 2013. Since then, production has varied between 12 million and 13 million litres in 2010, with 2014 and 2015 registering approximately 12 million litres each year.

The partners hope to boost dairy industry growth over the next 10 years, while reducing the food import bill, increasing national food security, increasing GDP and reducing unemployment.

In the medium term, the initiative is aimed at producing 20 million litres of local milk annually, ultimately re-establishing a sustainable and self-sufficient diary industry and increasing the demand for Jamaican milk.

CB Group, through Nutramix, will provide quality cattle feeds, while Newport Fersan, through its Precise Nutrient Management System, will provide increased pasture productivity for the little over 2,000 acres of land that have been earmarked for grazing.

“This commitment includes taking samples, analysing these samples, providing nutrient programme, blending the fertiliser required, in addition to supporting the technical team at Seprod,” business development manager Hedda Rose Pitter told the audience.

“We know that the quantity and quality of milk produced by a dairy cow is directly proportionate to the food she eats, therefore the establishment and maintenance of high quality pastures is an important factor in setting the stage for high milk production,” she added.

Having invested $530 million last year in expanding its product line to include whipping cream, yogurts, smoothies and cheese, Seprod has also increased its fleet of vehicles for the transportation of milk from small farmers.

“What we are saying basically is you produce the milk and we are guaranteeing the market in an effort for farmers to have security around their business. This year we are investing heavily into irrigation systems for the pastures because the drought has made a huge impact on farmers in Jamaica,” Group CEO Richard Pandohie told the Jamaica Observer.

“The idea is to work with the Dairy Board and the other partners to get farmers producing more milk and when production numbers go up we will find demand for it,” he added.

The ‘Drink Real Milk’ execution plan takes into consideration a production strategy to improve animal health, access to better genetic material, cost of feeding components through customised feeding programmes and proper pasture management.

It also includes consumer education strategy which will assist the JDDB in its marketing intervention strategies, to increase local milk consumption from the current low average of 105 ml per day, which is one-half of the World Health Organization’s minimum requirements.

Link to article: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/New-promotion-hopes-to-increase-Jamaican-milk-production_50069