NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (July 30, 2021) – – The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) has donated ten Boer goats to the Ministry of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) as part of an ongoing effort to improve the quality of commercial livestock on Nevis.
The RUSVM donated a total of 25 Boer goats to the Ministries of Agriculture on St. Kitts and Nevis during a ceremony at the Island Country Farm in Parson’s Ground, St. Kitts on July 28, 2021.
Deputy Premier of Nevis Hon. Alexis Jeffers, who serves as Minister of Agriculture in the Federal Government and in the NIA, thanked the RUSVM management and students for the donation and continued collaboration with the Ministries. He said this programme forms part of a joint vision to enhance the livestock sector in the federation through improved genetics.
“We found a partner in Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and they have been working with us in this area of livestock. We’ve seen some significant improvement in the research and development that has been done and also the quality of the livestock that we have seen. We’ve identified this particular breed of goat, the Boer, which is a very prolific breed and a good breed to be raising in these tropical conditions.
“Indeed we are happy that we have had this partnership because ultimately all of our livestock farmers will be the recipients of this particular breed and that would lead to the enhancement of their livelihood, making some money in the process,” he said.
Dr. Sean Callanan, RUSVM Dean, also acknowledged the longstanding and fruitful partnership with the government and in particular with the Ministries of Agriculture. He highlighted the contribution of the students involved in the programme.
“As you know we teach our students a one health concept, and what that means is that healthy animals lead to healthy humans, lead to healthy society and this is one really strong example of this. What you see here today we have wonderful healthy goats and part of the reason for healthy is broadening the genetic diversity, broadening the pool of animals from which you can sample from, animals that have evolved over time to show high quality meat and products,” he said.
Dr. Aspinas Chapwanya, Associate Professor at RUSVM, commended the students involved in the programme. He said they raised the money to purchase 10 pure-bred Boer goats from the United States and the school decided to contribute another 15.
Holly Crews, a seventh semester student at RUSVM, said so far the project has approximately 275 goats. The local breeds of goat are being cross-bred with the Boer breed, considered one of the most productive meat goats in the world. The Boer breed matures faster and grows sturdier to give more meat per carcass.
Also present at the ceremony were officials from the Ministry of Agriculture on St. Kitts, several RUSVM faculty and students, and a contingent from the NIA Ministry of Agriculture- Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary; Mr. Randy Elliott, Director of the Department of Agriculture; Mr. Floyd Liburd, Deputy Director; Mr. Garfield Griffin, Abattoir Manager, and Dr. Ambrose James, Senior Veterinary Officer.
The donated goats were taken to the government-operated Maddens Livestock Farm in St. James’. Mr. Rohan Claxton, Livestock Extension Officer at the facility explained that the ten ewes will be bred with a Boer buck already on the farm, and some of the offspring will be passed on to local farmers to improve their stock.