My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Pork PR for increased Production - Jamaicans don’t like Pork Because they cannot cook it

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Pork PR for increased Production - Jamaicans don’t like Pork Because they cannot cook it

What is one Man’s poison, signor,
In another’s meat and drink

Beaumont and Fletcher, Love’s Cure, III, 2

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has decided to undertake a study to determine what may at first seem a strange question to spend US$93,000 (JA$8.4 million) of JSIF (Jamaica Social Investment Fund) money studying for six (6) months: why Jamaica’s consumption of Pork is so low and improving production.

This as faithful reported from the horses mouth, the Jamaica Information Service in the articlePig study to gauge Pork possibilities”, published Thursday, October 06, 2011 JIS, The Jamaica Observer.

A Press Quote from the Senator Robert Montague, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries: “The Pork Industry has been selected by the ministry as one of the priority growth areas within the agricultural sector. This is so because the Pork Industry has a comparative, as well as a competitive advantage across the Caribbean”.

After all, despite our apparent disdain for the white meat, it very popular abroad, with an average global consumption of forty five kilograms (45kg) per person per year! Locally CBG (Caribbean Broilers Group) is fighting the low consumption level of six (6) kilograms per person per year, the lowest in the world, as stated in the article CB spent $400m to get more Pork eaters”, published Wednesday, April 06, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

So why the interest in making Jamaican’s eat more Pork? Increased local consumption means increased interest in its production among Pig Farmers. This translates to an available base from which to build a quality stock of Pig Breeders thereby making export viable, if not possible.

Initiatives thus far to get Jamaicans to eat Pork, such as a suggestion by the JPFA (Jamaica Pig Farmers' Association) in 2009AD to introduce Pork Patties as stated in the articlePork patties, anyone?”, published Monday, September 21, 2009 by Garfield Myers Editor-at-Large South/Central Bureau, The Jamaica Observer has largely fish-tailed.

President of the JPFA Angela Bardowell commented on the then lower than normal Pork consumption, pointing to a lack of support, quote: “A lot of the reasons given by persons for not producing (and selling) Pork patties is that consumers don't want (traditional patties) to mix with the Pork”.

Another of my hair-brained ideas given away back in April of 2009AD while conversing with Shurpower Engineers en route to set generators on autostart, I’m afraid, that failed!

The Dioxin contamination scare of Pork and Eggs in Germany earlier in January 2011AD was certainly not helping as stated in the articleGermany halts pork, egg sales in dioxin scare”, published Saturday, January 08, 2011, AP, The Jamaica Observer. Add to that the increasing level of health consciousness among Jamaicans as it relates to the perception that Pork is fattening, despite not being unhealthy Red Meat compounds the issue, as this health consciousness cuts across religious dietary lines.

Curiously, under the previous Minister of Agriculture, Senator Dr. Christopher Tufton in 2010AD, attempts were made to halt a perceived slide in Pork production due to high feed costs and low returns. Of course, local consumption levels play a part: if nobody is eating, then why spend money to raise Pigs that are hard to export?

The Pig Industry employs some six thousand, five hundred (6,500) people and contributes 1% to of Jamaica's GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Its dent in the importation of foreign Pork was estimated at US$12.2 million.

However, after six (6) yeas of increased local production in 2002AD from 5.5 million kilograms to 9.1 million kilograms in 2008, the year that the US Recession hit in 2009AD saw a dip in production. 737,527 kilograms of Pork from a lofty high of two million (2,000,000) kilograms of Pork in 2007AD is a long way down and serious enough to raise alarm bells in the Pork Industry, due to expensive inputs.

Thanks to our organic farming methods, our Pork could fetch higher prices for merely using so-called Organic methods of production. So the rational of Senator Robert Montague, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries is spot on.

But why do Jamaicans have such a low consumption of Pork to begin with? Possibly because Jamaicans cannot cook Pork? Which would explain why most Jamaicans fear cooking Pork, fearing that “consumers don't want (traditional patties) to mix with the Pork”.

The obvious evidence comes from the fact that despite the presence of a strong Seventh Day Adventist and Rastafarian religious movement on the island, their numbers are not large enough to influence people not to eat Pork. People eat what they like to eat, Jamaicans having a taste for Fast Food.

Curiously, the Red LionFish (Pterois volitans) may face a less precarious popularity climb among the Jamaican populace due to the general ease with which the poisonous delicacy can be rendered safe and nice to eat.

Plus a good PR campaign with the support of Media Personalities and Dancehall Artiste such as Yendi Phillipps, Miss World 2007 and Miss Universe 2010, representative of Rainforest Seafoods will make this a future delicacy served up by the Fast Food chain KFC Jamaica as per my blog article entitled “Rainforest Seafoods vs the Lionfish - KFC iTwist in Yendi Phillip's Emerald Forest”.

So my predictions for the outcome of the six (6) month study by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the JSIF can be predicted. Before Pork can become popular, Jamaicans have to be made to know the various means by which one can cook Pork by a clever Public Relations Campaign. Once this is successful, Jamaicans will consume more port and in turn, local production will increase to pre-US Recession levels and thus make exporting viable.

I am fresh out of ideas, so new thinking on this is required, possibly involving Dancehall Artiste endorsement and a nice jingle to drive home the idea of Pork as an easy meat to cook. PR Campaign to get Jamaicans to learn to cook Pork.

Much as there exists a PR Campaign and partnership with Rainforest Seafoods to encourage people to eat Red LionFish (Pterois volitans)Rainforest partners with Gov't to control invasive lionfish”, published Sunday, May 01, 2011 by Julian Richardson Assistant Business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

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