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22 Red Poll Cattle Imported under Livestock Development Programme

Government 06 Jul, 2023 Follow News

22 Red Poll Cattle Imported under Livestock Development Programme

The Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure has taken a major step toward growing and strengthening the Cayman Islands domestic livestock capacity by recently importing 22 Red Poll cattle from Jamaica.

The three bulls and nineteen heifers were airlifted to Grand Cayman on 22 June, and after completing quarantine will form the base herd for the Islands’ cattle breeding programme managed by the Ministry’s Department of Agriculture.

“We have prioritised agriculture and food security during the past two years because improving the well-being of Caymanians means ensuring that safe, nutritious food is accessible, available, and affordable,” said Hon Jay Ebanks, Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure. “Importing these cattle will substantially increase domestic cattle production, improve overall cattle genetics, and reduce the need to import beef in the future.”

Minister Ebanks led a mission to Jamaica last year for bilateral discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, which led to this cattle importation as well as other outcomes.

The Cayman Islands Government has established and developed a National Livestock Development Programme (NLDP), under which the recently imported cattle were procured from the Cattle Breeder’s Society Jamaica. The NLDP is focused on developing local livestock to reduce imports of goats, and to improve local cattle herds and beef quality. It is also aimed at implementing a  cattle breeding programme to rapidly enhance the local genetics and modernise and improve the livestock sector.

“Importing purebred cattle suited to local conditions is a more sustainable approach to improving domestic livestock and an important component of efforts to enhance local genetics, upgrade domestic herds and support important research,” said Brian Crichlow, Acting Director of Agriculture. “These imported cattle are a significant step forward for government’s Cattle Breeding Programme and efforts to improve the domestic livestock sector.”

Under the NLDP, the cattle breeding programme is designed to enhance animal genetics in Cayman and help modernise the sector and local farming community. Using the imported cattle and the new Cattle Breeding Center in Cayman Brac, the Department of Agriculture will establish a centre of excellence through which it provides stud bull services, calves for sale and semen for artificial insemination.

Importing cattle is only the latest accomplishment for the National Livestock Development Programme. Future plans include development of a Livestock Breeding Centre on Grand Cayman, introduction of embryo transfer technology and training of team members in the Veterinary Service Unit at the Department of Agriculture to improve efficiency in animal breeding technology.

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