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The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) in 2018 will be placing enhanced emphasis on the expansion of its livestock production and will commence Artificial Insemination (AI) programme in sheep.

AI is not something new for the livestock authority and there have been successful pilot projects in the past with farmers from regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 benefiting from the program.

Guyana Livestock Development Authority’s, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nigel Cumberbatch in an exclusive interview spoke of the Authority’ drive to boost its livestock fleet with the addition of high quality animals.

“We were able to close 2017 with many successes in our cattle, swine and goat AI programmes. This year is no exception as we will be commencing our AI in sheep programme. Last year we were able to acquire three Katahdin rams through funding from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute’s (CARDI) Agricultural Policy Programme (APP).” Mr. Cumberbatch said.

The animals were acquired at the cost of US $9000 to aid with the authority’s Genetic Improvement and Stock Breeding Programmes.

In 2017, 2186 AI were done in cattle, pigs and small ruminants in regions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 with 939 farmers benefiting. The authority is projecting to carry out 3718 AI in animals in 2018.

Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder reiterated the government commitment to the resuscitation of the livestock industry, to better position farmers to not only be self-sufficient in the local arena, but to compete in the regional and international markets.

“GLDA continues to take the leading role in restoring Guyana’s cattle and livestock industry. This move to commence AI in sheep will see farmers being able to grow their herd while playing a significant role in developing the industry. The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to work with regional and international partners to acquire and introduce new species of animals through our genetic improvement programme.” Minister Holder said.

Katahdin rams possess relatively low mortality rates, require low maintenance and produce superior lamb crops. They also possess lean meaty carcasses which will allow for higher market weight and, if managed carefully, require minimal parasitical treatment.

In addition, the GLDA will also be moving to have farmers benefit from top quality semen. Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Dwight Waldron stated that this will soon be made available to farmers across the country.

“The bulls are now mature and we have carried out some amount of extraction training and we’ll soon commence extraction. Once this process is completed and the rainy season ends we will start making the semen available to farmers across the country.” Dr. Waldron said.

Waldron added that if Guyana is to enhance its economy and ensure food safety, producing meat of better size and quality remains vital. Over the past years, there were an increase in the importation of animals for the purpose of creating better breeds.

Last year, the GLDA had recorded 21 successful embryo transplants and is working to have the 2018 target of 240 surpassed.

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