Pig market situation in Jamaica
Rising feed prices and the threat of African Swine Fever are challenges facing pig farmers in Jamaica.
Pig production in Jamaica is estimated that represents less than 1.0% of the country’s GDP. The industry directly employs some 6,200 people who represent 3.1% of the total agricultural workforce.
Exports of pork meat in Jamaica have decreased in recent years by 30.24%, from 1,488 thousand USD in 2019, to 1,038 thousand USD in 2020. In 2018, they had a rise of 14.41%, but in 2020, they collapsed 27.36%.
The same line has followed the total production of meat, which fell by 7.41%, from 150,586 tons in 2019, to 139,425 tons in 2020. In 2018, meat production increased by 2.64%, but in 2020 it was recorded a drop of 6.27%.
There are a total of 4,000 small farms in Jamaica, with a total herd size of about 60-85,000 animals, most of which are concentrated in three areas: Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth and St. Catherine. The majority of these pig farmers (ie 98%) have fewer than 50 animals.
National pork meat consumption
Per capita consumption of pork meat in Jamaica is very low. The Jamaican consumes about 3.7 kg of pork meat per year. For comparison, in the case of the USA and Canada, the level is above 20 kg per capita. The Caribbean neighbors, Trinidad and Barbados, also have per capita consumption levels twice as high as Jamaica. Industry observers argue that this low level of consumption is one of the important factors limiting the growth of the local pig industry.
Pork meat is considered a source of zinc, thiamin, selenium, and vitamin B12, which are essential vitamins and minerals for brain health and for supporting the body’s immune system.
Challenges in Jamaican pig production
Rising feed prices and the threat of African Swine Fever are challenges facing pig farmers in Jamaica. Consequently, pig farmers have increased the price of pork meat as a way to overcome the growing challenges.
In 2022, the approximate price range for Jamaican pork meat is between US$3.64 and US$3 per kilogram or between US$1.65 and US$1.36 per pound (lb). The price in Jamaican dollars is JMD 555.17 per kg. The average price per ton is US$3,636.36 in Montego Bay and Kingston.
Specific diseases in the Caribbean and how to prevent them
In July 2021, the Caribbean area was affected by African Swine Fever (ASF), especially the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 18 of the 32 provinces reported outbreaks and 51,000 pigs were sacrificed. Currently Jamaica is free from ASF.
Another disease that has affected the area is Classical Swine Fever, also known as Hog Cholera, which has been present in Cuba and Haiti, although its presence has not been confirmed in Jamaica. The disease shares some clinical signs with many other diseases, so it can be difficult to diagnose. These signs include fever, lethargy, reddening of the skin and ears, and in many cases, the death of the youngest piglets. Sows can abort their piglets, some of which may be mummified, others may be born dead at term.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) is an acute viral disease of the pig intestine. The first reported presence of PED in the US was on May 16, 2013. Since then, the virus has spread to 30 US states and to Canada, Colombia, Mexico, and in the Caribbean, specifically in the Dominican Republic.
Another problem that occurs more frequently in tropical areas is represented by mycotoxins, which are found in crops and in pig feed.
To prevent diseases in pigs, Biovet SA has developed a range of specific products, such as:
– Alquerfeed Antitox is a mycotoxin binder based on Silicoglycidol (patented molecule). It is an optimized molecule with a high capacity for binding mycotoxins and a broad spectrum of action, effective at a low dose (0.5 kg/t). In addition, it is effective in all pH conditions of the digestive tract, and does not interact with nutrients in the diet. In this way, the negative effects caused by any type of mycotoxin, such as Aflatoxin B1, Zearalenone or Deoxynivalenol, more frequent in tropical areas, are prevented.
– Alquermold Natural is a natural preservative with bactericidal and fungicidal activity for raw materials and feed. It combines an active ingredient called cimenol ring and citric acid. It also works as an intestinal biocide to promote the balance of the intestinal flora. It is effective against Salmonella, E. coli, Clostridium, Pseudomonas, Campylobacter and Staphylococcus, among others. Promotes beneficial intestinal flora.
– Alquernat Immuplus stimulates the physiology of the animal’s specific and non-specific immune system. Strengthens immunity in young animals, whose immune system is immature; and in adults, especially in fast-growing or highly prolific breeds. It also improves the response to vaccination and complements pharmacological therapy in infections or replaces it during the withdrawal period.