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Boost for goat and sheep production
There are plans to boost local production of meat from goat and sheep by next year from 355 tonnes to 680 tonnes. As a result, local production will account for twenty per cent of consumption, Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj said on Tuesday, when he addressed a livestock distribution ceremony at the Centeno Animal Quarantine Station. Approximately 40 sheep and goats were given to farmers at a subsidised cost during the function.
“Consumption of livestock product is increasing at a rapid rate at the local, regional and international level. Eating habits now show a marked increase in the consumption of animal protein,” Maharaj said. He added that local production of goat milk will be increased by one hundred per cent to replace imported goat milk and provide an alternative supply of locally produced milk.
Maharaj said provisional data from the Central Bank showed that for the first time in 40 years the agriculture sector experienced five consecutive quarters of growth. He said the Summary of Economic Indicators for September 2013 showed that growth for the first three quarters of 2013 remained positive and steady. The minister added: “There has been a two per cent reduction in the food import bill from 2010 to 2013 and the food inflation rate also continues to be single digits at 3.2 per cent in January.”