By Benjamin Flowers
Belize is looking toward creating a viable export market for sheep and goats, after the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development and the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) signed a project agreement this week.
Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega and the Ambassador of the Republic of China(Taiwan) H.E. Benjamin Ho signed the agreement for the “Genetic Improvement for Sheep and Goat Breeding Belize-Taiwan Project” on Wednesday in Belmopan.
The project has a three-year lifespan and an approved budget of US $1.62 million. The Government of Belize will contribute US $0.35 million and the Taiwanese Government will provide US $1.27 million.
The project is created to improve and develop the genetic blood lines of both sheep and goat livestock through both natural breeding and and artificial insemination.
The project’s core objectives include the development of the National Small Ruminant Center at Central Farm and the introduction of quality breeding stocks as well to ensure stock productivity.
There will also be a capacity building and technical training component for livestock technicians and other officers within the Ministry, and the small ruminant producers in the country, including the establishment of a traceability registry for the herds.
According to the Ministry, sheep and goat production have tremendous growth potential not only at the national level but also on the regional export market.
“This project will complement other ongoing initiatives and place the industry on a firm footing for development.
In particular the traceability/registry component will provide the base on which an export market can develop,” the Ministry said.