Over the next two months, 21 swine farmers from across the country will receive several piglets to improve their breeding stock.
These animals are being made available through the Guyana Livestock Development Authority’s 2022 swine improvement programme. The pilot programme, which forms part of a $1.8 million investment by the government, will see the GLDA collaborating with farmers to improve the swine sector’s breeding and meat production capacities.
Today, 10 of the 21 farmers received piglets during a simple handing over exercise at GLDA’s head office in Mon Repos on the East Coast of Demerara, while the remaining farmers will benefit from the programme before the end of the second quarter of 2022.
Delivering remarks at the handing over, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said the ministry is hoping to see a significant increase in Guyana’s pork production this year.
“As a government we are working to develop our livestock industry. While you would’ve noticed that we are putting a lot of effort into the poultry sector, in corn and soya, in non-traditional high-value crops; we are also putting a lot of energy into developing the small ruminant sector. Today’s exercise is a reflection of one of the recent actions taken by the GLDA to increase pork production by 400,000 kilograms. Our current production is roughly 890,000 kilograms and I am hoping that by the end of this year, with the planned improvement we have for the swine industry, we can achieve that target,” the minister said.
Cognisant of the fact that with the influx of expatriates to the country the demand for specialised cuts of meats will increase, Minister Mustapha said government would need to empower farmers to produce what is required to satisfy the demand, locally.
“Our country is moving apace in terms of investments and we will be challenged to produce the food for the various sectors in the economy. We’re seeing that the oil and gas sector is taking form, with more and more people coming to our country to work and we will have to satisfy those demands for quality products. We cannot do this if we do not develop new and innovative ways to produce the required cuts and quality of meat. As a ministry and as a government, we will have to ensure you the farmers are prepared by providing you with the animals to expand your production,”
Owen McGarrell, a seasoned swine farmer from Buxton who was selected to benefit from the pilot project said he’s been in the swine industry for most of his life.
“I’ve been constantly receiving help from the GLDA in the form of artificial insemination. I also received animals from them in the past but not of the quality that I’m receiving today. I think it augurs well for the future of the industry. Like the minister said, we need to ensure production and productivity improves,” the farmer said.
Minister Mustapha also said that the construction of a modern abattoir to service the swine industry is currently ongoing at the Garden of Eden on the East Bank of Demerara and that government is also looking to establish a complete swine processing facility through a Public/Private Partnership (PPP) agreement.
“This year we are also looking at commencing the construction of a modern swine slaughtering facility. We are also looking at partnering with investors to build a complete swine processing facility which will include an abattoir and a processing plant. This will further enhance our capacity to become a producer and exporter of pork,” Minister Mustapha said.
The swine production improvement programme will see the GLDA working with swine farmers to produce pigs for both breeding and meat production purposes. With good animal husbandry and sustained feeding, each pig can produce as much as 272 kilograms (600 lbs) in six months.
In Guyana, swine production is done mainly in six of the ten administrative regions