The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Animal Health & Production Division, Aiolupotea Tony Aiolupo with the cross breed behind him at the Avele Farm
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 29 JUNE 2017: The Ministry of Agriculture today disclosed 60 offsprings from a successful cross of the Australian Dorper sheep and the Fijian Fantastic sheep to “improve the availability of new sheep and improve the quality of meat available for consumption.”
The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Animal Health & Production Division Aiolupotea Tony Aiolupo said they have yet to come up with a name for the crossbreed.
“For the moment we just call it Mamoe Kolosi (cross),” said Aiolupotea.
MAF’s Principal & Research Officer Donna Michelle Sili said the Australian Dorper was chosen for the cross breeding project to get certain characteristics such as growth, better meat and to withstand footrot which is the main disease affecting sheep in Samoa.
The Fijians Fantastic Sheep are lighter and lean in meat whereas the Australian Dorper produces heavier and thicker meat.
Aiolupotea said their aim to get a “competitive type of meat to counter the importation of sheep meat or mutton flaps into the country.”
Donna Sili says part of their research found that the sheep cannot rely only on grass and plant leaves alone so they have additional food types to the sheep diet that includes malt (sprint grain) from the Vailima breweries, copra mill (penu popo), manioka and tamaligi leaves.
“What is lacking in the grass the sheep graze on can be found in these additional food and helps the sheep improve ability in breeding,” said Donna.
In early 2015 Samoa received its first shipment of the Australian Dorper (10 ewes and 4 breeding rams). The main interest in bringing in the Dorper was to ‘add value’ on the Fiji Fijian Fantastic sheep which has lean meat.
The crossbreeding programme began in late 2015 with the crossing of the Dorper rams with the FFS ewes to produce the first of its kind in the world!
To date, the crossbred offspring has yet to be named but is widely known as ‘mamoe kolosi’.
A total of 60 crossbred sheep were produced from this first crossbreeding program (30 females and 30 males).
All have been distributed to the 6 sheep multipliers in Lalomauga, Saleilua, Ululoloa, Fiaga, Vaia’ata and Lalomalava villages. The second crossbreeding programme was completed in late 2016 and lambs are currently on the ground.