New Bloodlines To Be Introduced Into St. Lucia’s Livestock Sector To Enhance Food Security

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St. Lucia – On Friday April 19th, a contingent of technical officers from the Veterinary and Livestock Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Unleashing the Blue Economy of the Caribbean (UBEC) Project, travelled to the United States to commence their inspection and selection of animals to be introduced into St. Lucia’s livestock sector.  This initiative is being facilitated by the UBEC Project, to inject new bloodlines into Saint Lucia’s livestock industry. This is intended to boost food security, assist farmers in their continued post COVID-19 recovery, and bolster overall sustainability of livestock production.  These bloodlines comprise a total of 154 animals including pigs, sheep, goats, and cattle, which are expected to arrive in Saint Lucia within the next few weeks.

The UBEC Project is a USD $29 million initiative of the Government of Saint Lucia, which is being executed by the Ministry of Finance, with funding from the World Bank. This project aims to stimulate economic recovery in Saint Lucia, by supporting marine and coastal resilience within the tourism, fisheries, and waste management sectors. The support for livestock farmers is a complementary component of the UBEC project, under the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC), and is intended to provide targeted support to the Ministry of Agriculture, for its food security initiatives.

This current project investment into livestock production, is valued at over USD 400,000.  Along with the procurement of the animals, the project will support minor upgrades to the Volet Agriculture Livestock Centre, in Micoud, to accommodate the new animals. Moreover, livestock farmers will further benefit from a training programme, designed to enhance their knowledge and expertise on nutrition, pasture management, feed conservation and record keeping, amongst other things. The training is also intended to assist livestock farmers in the efficient management of their farms, and accommodation of the new livestock breeds.

Speaking on the recent trip to the United States, for inspection and selection of the animals, Mr. Dean Avril, Livestock Technical Officer of the UBEC Project Implementation Unit (PIU), shed some light on the process.

“During the two (2) week selection exercise which necessitated visits to farms across ten (10) states in the US; assessments were performed based on the following criteria: conformation to breeding standards, evaluation of pedigree records, breeding soundness, and adaptability to the tropical environment in Saint Lucia. The selectors also observed and documented management practices on the farms in order to guide their overall management when they transition to Saint Lucia. Several other important aspects were noted to ensure a seamless transition of the animals, including feeding and nutrition as it relates to diets, ration formulations, feed ingredients, forage types; and health and disease management relating to health care, parasite control, veterinary pharmaceutical use, and environmental challenges. The selectors’ efforts served to ensure the best value for money in purcahsing these animals.

Mr. Timothy Norville, Animal Nutritionist III; Mr. Pare Melchoir, Veterinary and Livestock Assistant/National Coordinator – Swine Commodity; and Mr. Stanley O’Shaughnessy, Agricultural Officer III also formed part of the selection team. Following their assessment visits, the animals were transferred to a quarantine facility for 21 days in Miami, Florida, where they will be held, inspected and prepared for shipment to Saint Lucia.

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