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Mar 16, 2018

Taiwanese Make Investment in Sheep, Goat Rearing

For two years now, a national sheep and goat-breeding center at the Central Farm has been in operation to develop this small sector and so farmers who are rearing sheep and goats will see changes in breed quality and even new markets for exportation. On Thursday, The National Sheep and Goat Breeding Center at Central Farm was inaugurated and the genetic improvement project was launched. The Taiwanese Government funded these undertakings. News Five Andrea Polanco tells us more about what this project mean for sheep and goat breeding.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The “Sheep and Goat Genetic Improvement Project” is expected to grow the sheep and goat production in Belize. It is a small sector – last estimates show some twelve thousand heads – that if properly supported, can yield significant socio-economic for Belize. This new project is expected to provide that much needed boost for sheep and goat rearing.

 

Jose Alpuche

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“This project should help us improve the genetics to produce better animals, increase the numbers in production, implement systems of traceability and thereby providing the foundation for true commercial growth. This macro approach to addressing the gaps in the sector is what has been missing. It is exactly what we need for the sector to grow.”

 

The project operates out of the newly inaugurated National Sheep and Goat Breeding Center. The Government of Belize and Taiwan signed an agreement for one point six million U.S. dollars to expand the offerings of the national breeding center. As a part of the work being done to increase sheep and goat production, there is need to open up markets. The domestic market exists – but a consistent supply is still lacking – this project hopes to address that local demand, as well as exportation opportunities.

 

Jose Alpuche

“Equally, the regional market in Mexico and Guatemala. We often hear of these cows that tend to cross the borders. I know for a fact that it is a vibrant trade up north into Mexico of sheep going from Belize live into Mexico. I am certain, we will work very hard with the systems put in place here in terms of traceability – we will do what is required, the same way we have done for cattle, we will do what is required to open up legal trading routes into Guatemala and Mexico, as the market develops. But more significantly, with this project we will have the foundation in terms of steady supply, the quality required, the traceability system, so that our products going into these market cannot be questioned.”

 

Investment into this sheep and goat-rearing project started two years ago – and to date there have been significant developments including the construction of a sheep barn and sheep importation from the U.S.A.

 

Jose Alpuche

“The completion of the national breeding center, which is just behind us, the first of its kind; official importation of purebred Dorper and Barbados Blackbelly Sheep from the U.S has actually also occurred. Quite a series of training workshops for capacity building of our livestock extension officers, technical officers, and sheep farmers country-wide has actually also occurred. They’ve written two standard operating procedures in sheep production and management and several brochures have also been produced. The project has also launched the certification of sheep using three-generation pedigree   in collaboration with the Belize Livestock Producers Association. We’ve started Artificial Insemination (AI) and started Embryo Transfer (ET) at the national breeding center here in Central Farm. Both AI and ET will be provided to farmers countrywide by technicians of the Ministry of Agriculture.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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