June 1, 2007
June 1, 2007 - There is a shortage of goats locally due to the continued ban on imports from the United States and Canada, according to Derrick Vermont, President of the Goat Breeders Association (GBA) of Jamaica. Vermont told the Sunday Jamaica Observer that although he was in full support of the ban, it was causing several setbacks to the local goat-rearing industry.
"It (the ban) has had a very great effect on the development of the industry in Jamaica because we need new blood types, new gene pools, new everything. And the only way to do this is to import and keep on importing," Vermont said. "We say we need 2.5 million animals to make Jamaica self-sufficient in goat meat, right now we are at 500,000. The only way we can improve quickly is to import," he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture's veterinary division implemented the ban last year after it was discovered that several farms in the United States and Canada, from which Jamaica imported goats, were not fully compliant with programs to prevent the spread of scrapie among sheep and goats.
While they had the option to import the animals from other farms in the world, particularly Australia, the cost associated with this was discouraging for many farmers, Vermont said.
"We could import from Australia right now, but the price to bring in that goat would be too exorbitant," he said.
Vermont is, however, hopeful that the ban will be lifted on some farms in the United States and Canada by the end of this year. Reprinted in part from Jamaica Observer