New Hope road in Jamaica?
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CTA. 2002. New Hope road in Jamaica?. Spore 102. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47752
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore102.pdf
In August 1999, Phyllis March, a Jamaican dairy farmer, reached the point where she could no longer sell her herd s milk. Her cold store was full to overflowing and she had to pour more than 1,000 litres of milk into a nearby stream. It was no...
In August 1999, Phyllis March, a Jamaican dairy farmer, reached the point where she could no longer sell her herd s milk. Her cold store was full to overflowing and she had to pour more than 1,000 litres of milk into a nearby stream. It was no isolated incident. Jamaica s dairy sector, once highly profitable, is going through a crisis. National consumption is 155 million litres a year, but national production fell at an increasing rate all through the 1990s, from 39 million litres in 1992 to 22 million litres in 2001. The paradox is that Jamaican producers have been forced to destroy part of their production, and in some cases to destroy their herds and even take up a new occupation. What came to beat these farmers on their own ground was subsidised European milk. For the dairy processors in the country it was more convenient and cheaper to buy imported milk powder than to collect local fresh milk. Local industrial processors took the opportunity provided by trade liberalisationto reduce their farm gate prices for local production and to restrict the volume of purchases. As a result, in 2001 dairy farmers had to destroy 250,000 litres of milk. A different scenario is imaginable: with good and plentiful pastures, adequate water supply and the sturdy Jamaican Hope breed, the conditions are in place for a sound development of the sector on which almost 3,000 farmers depend. That, at least, is the opinion of a good number of them who recently established the Jamaica Dairy Farmers Federation as their professional body. It has made some good progress to date: the price of inputs has been negotiated downwards, production methods are being modernised, and the government has agreed to buy local producers milk for schools programmes.