KINGSTOWN: Taiwan is providing support to the Government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the efforts to increase small ruminant production through a project that will result in animals being impregnated within a week.
The goal of the project, which will be fully implemented in May, is to increase the nation’s sheep and goat population by 40 per cent by 2020, thereby reducing imports of mutton and lamb.
The project includes the use of female synchronization – bringing several animals into heat at the same time – and then inseminating them artificially.
Veterinary officer with responsibility for animal production, Amelia Jack, said synchronization and artificial insemination would be beneficial to St. Vincent & the Grenadines in that more small ruminants can get pregnant, including animals that might have had fertility issues.
Jack, who recently underwent specialized training in Taiwan, said not only does artificial insemination give farmers greater control over reproduction in their herds, but it is also cheaper, as it is very costly to maintain a male sheep or goat properly.
Authorities in St. Vincent & the Grenadines say the project is also intended to improve the available breeds for reproduction and provide incentives to all commercial farmers to produce small ruminants and their products that can be produced locally at competitive prices.
As part of the initiative, Jack and two other veterinary officers — Natalie Toney and Louanne Johnson — recently travelled to Taiwan, where they underwent specialized training in artificial insemination of small ruminants.
Chief of the Taiwan Technical Mission, Chin-Yu Lee, said Taipei handed over the pig and chicken production projects to the government 10 years ago.
However, he said there are still potential issues with animal production, resulting in the small ruminant project, which was conceptualized in 2010.