Dairy development in the Caribbean
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CTA. 1993. Dairy development in the Caribbean. Spore 44. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49101
seminar held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from 30 November to 4 December 1992
Agriculture in the Caribbean is based mainly on crops rather than on livestock. As a result, livestock products account for 53% of the food import bill of the region. However, many Caribbean countries are capable of growing excellent pasture and forage legumes, end they have their own breeds of cattle and sheep which are good producers of milk and meat, so there is substantial Potential for improving livestock output. But whilst there is potential there are problems to be overcome. Firstly the relegation of livestock to marginal land being farmed in uneconomic ways to produce meat, hides and a little milk is an option that is not attractive and will not induce the next generation of young people to enter livestock production. The alternative would be to introduce intensive livestock production technologies designed for the industrialized countries. This would be an inappropriate solution because these technologies would be based on land-use patterns and feed resources that are required by the human population for their immediate needs. The purpose of a seminar held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from 30 November to 4 December 1992 was to review ways of avoiding these two extremes by developing a dairy industry which will be adapted to the constraints in the Caribbean . The Seminar, organized by CTA in collaboration with the International Dairy Federation, CARDI and FAO, gave the opportunity to 72 Caribbean delegates to discuss not only case studies in the Caribbean but also experiences from the neighbouring Latin American countries and some more distant, like India and New Zealand. Delegates included dairy farmers, extension officers, researchers and representatives of international organizations and NGOs. The deliberations were not limited to production but included market development, appraisal of the economic possibilities, training, extension, research and the role of producers' organizations. The essential message is that dairy production should be based on the utilization of local resources: the breed of cow, the fodder and protein supplements available, the producers, the infrastructure and the market. Producers need to organize themselves to enable them to benefit from the economy of scale for the supply of inputs, the collection and transport of milk and other services and to constitute an effective pressure group when negotiating with government. Donors would also be more willing to finance dairy projects if their viability could be better demonstrated. Draft guidelines for the development of small-scale dairy production were proposed as there is no one model to be applied in all countries of the Caribbean. The situations and resources will dictate the policies to be followed in each country.