New partnership with JSR Genetics

24-07-2013 | | |
New pig units in São Tomé and Principe.
New pig units in São Tomé and Principe.

In a joint venture to improve the sustainability of island nation São Tomé and Principe’s food supply, the country’s government and the government of Taiwan have signed up to a new partnership with JSR Genetics, which will see 56 Landrace and Large White gilts and boars flown out of the UK this month.

Due to the insufficient supply and poor quality of domestically produced pork, the nation of São Tomé and Principe, located off the western coast of Central Africa has a pig industry in decline and is forced to import a large proportion of its pork at great expense.

The new partnership with JSR Genetics will allow the islands to establish their first breeding herd for the production of their own slaughter pigs, improving the quality of pork available, creating a sustainable stock of high index pigs and reducing costs.

Ben Rawson, key account manager at JSR Genetics has said:

“For a small island nation which is trying to secure improved sustainability through the promotion of tourism, importing the vast majority of its food supply from abroad is incredibly expensive. This new partnership will provide the people of São Tomé and Principe with access to the high-quality meat associated with these JSR sire lines, and the ability to produce lots of litters using high index pigs will be truly invaluable.

“The pigs have been selected from our Nucleus unit and after being placed in isolation for 30 days, will be flown out in a propeller plane in July. We’re very pleased to be involved in the project and look forward to seeing the results.”

Since the island was first colonised by the Portuguese in the 1400s, São Tomé and Principe have been producing pork through native breeds, which have never been reared for breeding purposes before.

The move is part of the Taiwan Technical Mission which aims to achieve agricultural technical cooperation between Taiwan and São Tomé and Principe. The Mission has been on-going for around five years, and it is hoped that this latest stage, the Pig Development Project, will be fully implemented by 2017.

JSR will also be instrumental in the training of the staff and setting up the breeding programmes to help São Tomé to develop professional skills amongst their pig farmers, such as artificial insemination, which will allow the islands to produce lots of litters and maximise output.

Dr. Reagan Chou, Chief of the Taiwan Technical Mission, said: “The Taiwan Technical Mission has been working closely with JSR on this project as part of an on-going initiative to help São Tomé and Principe become self-sufficient and provide high quality nutritional food to their people. With the help and coordination of both JSR and the Technical Mission, we have been able to choose high quality pigs, which will soon be shipped to the island. The Taiwanese government also offers help and support in a range of other agricultural and livestock projects as well as running a medical mission to improve the health of the island’s citizens.

“All parties have worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the project and JSR will be providing quality training which is vital for the future success of the mission. The scheme has posed many challenges and obstacles, which both parties have overcome, helping to developing a strong, positive relationship for the future.”

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