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By Rustom SeegopaulContrary to Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud’s statements,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, that pork sales have stabilized, swine farmers have said that they are still suffering from the steadily declining market for pork in Georgetown and along the coast.Swine farmers along the West Coast of Demerara have said that more needs to be done if the pork industry in Guyana is to survive.“The butchers are telling us that people are still not buying pork,” said Clarence McDonald, a swine farmer from Hague. He explained that due to the lack of market for pork, butchers are buying pork at reduced prices, if at all.McDonald is registered with the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (New GMC). He said that when he decided to go into the business of rearing pigs he, “had the idea that the New GMC would either purchase the surplus pigs, or find a market for them.”McDonald added that there were at least a dozen other swine farmers whom he knew along the West Coast; and who were experiencing the dwindling market for pork.He explained that before the H1N1 pandemic, he could easily sell six pigs per month,Wholesale China Jerseys, but now he is lucky if he manages to sell one. “I am barely breaking even with this business,” he said.McDonald said that due to the lack of market, he, like other swine farmers,Cheap NFL Jerseys co, was forced to cut back on their level of production.He added that he owns eight breeding sows, but due to the lack of market, he is only breeding one sow,Soccer Jerseys From China, despite the fact that this is the time of the year when swine farmers begin to prepare for the Christmas season, since it takes approximately six months before a piglet can grow to the ideal age for slaughtering.“The ‘Grow More’ Campaign and the New GMC have left us on our own,” said McDonald. “They encouraged us to get into this business but now that things are bad for the pork industry, they seem to have abandoned us.”He lamented that the Ministry of Agriculture and the GMC have not had any educational activities concerning the H1N1 virus. “I am not sure if they have had seminars or some kind of workshop in other areas,” he said, “but there have been none on the West Coast.”McDonald and other swine farmers have voiced their disapproval on the way the government-owned National Communications Network (NCN) Channel 11 has been portraying the H1N1 virus. “Whenever they talk about the (H1N1) virus, they always show pigs. I don’t know why they are doing this. Hasn’t it already been established that you cannot get the (H1N1) virus from pigs or pork?”Minister Persaud has emphatically stated that H1N1 virus cannot be contracted from pigs or by using pig products. The Minister has also said that his Ministry will still pound away at the fact that the pork in Guyana is safe for consumption, despite the H1N1 virus.“Those persons who might be spreading rumours that consuming pork will make you come down with the virus, or other types of misinformation, should desist from doing so because the farmers have brought that to my attention,” said the Minister.McDonald opined that the use of images of pigs by NCN when talking about the H1N1 virus was ‘irresponsible.” He added that by using misleading imagery, the television station was only contributing to the downward spiral the swine industry is in.“They (NCN) should be doing more advertisements to help educate the public,” McDonald said.Also hanging over his head is the debt that McDonald said he incurred when he began to rear pigs, some 16 months ago when the Agriculture Ministry encouraged Guyanese everywhere to ‘Grow More.’Still facing his debt to the bank for the $1.6 million he borrowed to start rearing pigs, McDonald made it clear that he could not continue this way. He said that he was considering stopping swine production.“The bank does not want to know how business is doing,Cheap Jerseys Supply, and if people are buying pork,” said McDonald, “they don’t care. All they want is their money when the month comes.”
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