St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The production of meat in St. Kitts and Nevis held steady in 2016 with only beef production showing a notable increase over the 2015 numbers.
At the recently held Department of Agriculture Annual Review and Planning Meeting, Melvin James, Director of Agriculture in St. Kitts, gave an overview of the levels of production for mutton, beef, goat meat, pork, and poultry last year.
“Livestock production had a modest year with a total output 147.36 metric tons, a mere 1.5% above last year’s achievement of 145.06 metric tons; so we didn’t really move by any significant measure.
The major bright light was beef; output increased from 51.02 metric tons last year to 55.48 metric tons, an increase of 8.74%. The other species with an increase, though marginal, was sheep. Mutton yields moved from 10.07 metric tons to 10.27 metric tons. Goat meat was essentially the same for the period under review, from 5.73 metric tons previously to 5.72 metric tons more recently.
“We had gains however in broiler meat and the other bright light for us was in eggs. We were able to increase our number of eggs by just under 9%, moving from 4065 in 2015 to 4,423 in 2016.”
Livestock farmers faced some challenges in production last year, including disease, pests and less than favorable marketing of some meats.
“We continue to look at dermatophilosis as a major problem- that’s skin disease on animals- that is followed up closely by castration and dog attacks. We need to reduce the number of incidents of dogs injuring our animals; in 2016 we had 40 such incidents.
“Our difficulty in marketing pork was once again evident as we struggled and were unable to surpass the 2015 production. In 2015 we did 69.68 tons and we fell short by 4.5 %, reaching only 66.53 metric tons.”
Minister of Agriculture Eugene Hamilton said it is important to determine what caused the decline in pork production, with a view to rectifying the situation going forward.
“Is is because Brazil has gained access to our market with cheaper pork why it has impacted the quantity of pork that we produce? Is it because selfishness prevailed and that the program of quality and growth potential from imported breeds of pork did not get passed onto everyone? Is it because we are tardy in our purchasing of food from abroad leaving the pork producers with that problem dealing with their swine?
“The questions must be asked and must be answered because however slight it is so that anything we can do to improve the current situation becomes relevant when those answers come.”