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Steps being taken to reinvigorate cattle herd gene pool – Agriculture minister

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Arrangements are being made for the sale of more beef cattle from St Vincent and the Grenadines in at least two neighboring islands.{{more}}

Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar announced that orders have been received from the islands of Grenada and St Lucia for 600 heads of beef cattle to be exported to those countries.

A release from the Ministry of Agriculture said arrangements are currently being made through WINFARM, the local banana export company and has estimated the value of the consignment at some EC$1.2mil. Two hundred cattle are slated to leave St Vincent by the end of this month.

According to Minister Caesar, the Ministry of Agriculture will be conducting the selection process guided by policies implemented this year for exportation of cattle, and which specifically excludes animals slated for the Livestock Breeding and Improvement Program that guides the production of animals here.

According to the Minister, this country has the capacity to develop a medium scale cattle industry. He said St Vincent and the Grenadines is currently in discussions with Argentina, Cuba and Taiwan in pursuit of new initiatives that include the sourcing of requisite modern technologies to assist in improved cattle production and productivity here in St Vincent.

Additionally, the Ministry is already working with farmers to reinvigorate the gene pool of the cattle herd through the introduction of new breeds. This will be complemented with the introduction of artificial insemination; increase in the number of zero grazing systems and continuation of the pasture improvement programme for improved nutrition.

Data sourced from the Statistical Division has revealed that there has been a gradual decline in the consumption of local beef – (843 heads in 2007, 669 in 2009 and 825 in 2011) which has made it difficult for most cattle farmers to get their animals sold. The Minister said that “this new export strategy and initiative will act as an incentive for the current cattle farmers and an encouragement to new farmers to enter the industry”.

The local cattle population is over 5000 heads.

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