Dairy farmers and their products offer the greatest potential
in the livestock industry. This group is responsible for the
orderly development of the Dairy Industry in Jamaica. In
addition, it concerns itself with the scientific production of
milk, through careful and planned selection of dairy cows to
constantly improve output in both volume and quality.
The development of Beef Herds through selective breeding
programmes and other scientific measures has always been
a main function of this group. By working closely with
government- sponsored projects over the years, they have
achieved success in establishing a quality Beef Herd in
Jamaica that measures up to the highest level of
The quality of Jamaican Herds has been such that there
was actually a lucrative market for breeding animals to
such markets as;
Trinidad and Tobago,
And other Central and South American countries.
However, like many other third- world countries, these
importers have been faced with the scarcity of foreign
exchange, leading to a fall-off in this trade. Nevertheless,
this group continued by artistically aligning their prices, and
by offering superior commercial arrangements for the local
The formation of this group within the Association several
years ago, marked the start of an organized pig industry,
and JLA is continually working towards the orderly
development of this industry. Feeding and Breeding
programmes are constantly being streamlined in programmes
planned to increase yield and quality.
Today, the Pig Industry has expanded sufficiently to support
the activities of several commercial pork product processors,
such as sausages, bacon and ham.
The Jamaica Livestock Association, through its Hatchery
(The JLA Hatchery Limited), is the prime supplier of day-old
chicks to independent poultry farmers who produce an estimated 30%- 40% of Jamaica poultry meat requirements. The JLA safeguards the interest of their poultry farmers by guarding against unnecessary importation of poultry products and regulating importation in times of shortages; such as that which occurred immediately after Hurricane Gilbert in1988 and again in 2004 after the devastating events of Hurricanes Charley and Ivan.
During those economically challenging periods, The
Jamaica Livestock Association, imported eggs for distribution through the farmers to retail outlets, until production returned to normal.
Through its commercial operations, the JLA supplies at
competitive prices, all the requirements of these independent
poultry farmers; from day-old chicks and feeds to feeders,
waterers, laying boxes, mesh wire, health care products and
The Association’s Field Representatives are in constant
touch with these farmers, giving them the advice they need to make their business profitable.
Farmers raising goats, sheep and rabbits receive guidance and assistance in every area. The Association has a continuing programme to popularize rabbit farming, and improve the breed of goats now raised by farmers islandwide.
On a continuing basis, the JLA encourages farmers to improve their stock through the introduction of breeds that have proven to be high producers of meat and milk, and are suitable to the tropical climate and feeds available.
JLA'S ROLE ON BEHALF OF JAMAICAN FARMERS
The local agricultural sector has been the mainstay of the
Jamaican economy, since time immemorial. Jamaican farmers
have played a major role in helping to feed the nation and save vital foreign exchange through the production of import
substitutions. It stands to reason then, that our farmers should be duly recognized and their wellbeing and interests protected. This is the mission of the Jamaica Livestock Association – keep watch on the farmer’s behalf.
Many hurdles have been overcome since the days when decontrol in the sector was being negotiated with government. Today with decontrol of beef, poultry and more recently milk, farmers are able to set more realistic profit margins in the often times unpredictable circumstances of the agro-business sector.
The JLA monitors the importation of foreign produce like
meats and other food stuff that might unfairly compete with and jeopardize the interests of local farmers.
Custom duties on farming supplies and motor vehicles are also important areas which are negotiated at governmental levels to ensure and safeguard profitability. High lending rates and the availability of loans impact greatly on agriculture and farming projects. Wherever possible the JLA intercedes in the interest of farmers.
The Jamaica Livestock Association is also instrumental in assisting government to formulate agricultural policies from time to time. As a representative body, the JLA has earned the respect of its members, the wider community and successive governments as it continues to carry on the task of developing agriculture and representing the welfare of the farming community.