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Pork is the gastronomical name for meat from the domestic pig (Sus domesticus). It is consumed in a variety of ways such as preserved, smoked, cooked or salted. Pork is generally produced from young animals (6 to 7 months old).
Increasing global demand for pork, especially in China, is encouraged by increasing exports globally, despite an increase in price.
A report entitled: “Value Chain Analysis Of, And Possibilities for the Jamaican Pig Industry” noted that globally, pork is a low internationally traded commodity. Imports accounted for 5.3% of production in 2007 while exports accounted for the same. It is, however, growing modestly.
FAO’s report on Animal Genetic Resources for the Caribbean, notes that among the livestock products produced in the subregion, meat has the highest production figures. Pig meat is the third most important meat industry in the subregion with Jamaica producing more than one-third of the total pig meat produced in the Caribbean. The pig meat industry has faced challenges, and has also been affected by cheaper imports.
For the period 1993 to 2003, supply of pig meat was below the average world level, but the growth rate was significant.
Within CARICOM, production of pork was estimated at 52.1 million kg in 2008 which represented an increase of 4.8% when compared to 49.7 million kg in 2004.
Jamaica is the second largest pork producer in CARICOM and the industry provides direct employment for approximately 6,200 persons (about 3.1% of the total agricultural labour force) in addition to indirect employment and income based on linkages with the food service industry and other services. Only 11% of pig farmers depend fully on pig production for a living and they reside mainly in rural communities. The total capital investment in Jamaica’s pork industry is estimated to be in the region of J$ 5.5 billion (CIRAD 2011).
Why invest in pork production?