Thumbs up for sheep project

Retired senior veterinary officer and former president of the Barbados Black Belly Sheep Association, Dr Anthony Griffith, is giving the Barbados/Guyana agricultural venture a thumbs up.

Griffith, who resides in Guyana and has been privy to some of the stakeholder meetings on the anticipated project that promised to bring economic prosperity for both countries, said that the venture was a “fantastic” investment.

It would, he said, help to improve the herds and the genetic traits of the indigenous animal and enhance cottage industries through which its by-products are sold.

Speaking to The Nation during a recent visit to Barbados, he said: “Based on what I have heard about in the meetings, local farmers would be producing Black Belly sheep to be slaughtered in Guyana, to be shipped back home to complement production locally.

“They (Barbadian farmers) would be given sizable lots to raise the sheep and that wouldn’t only allow farmers to raise sheep but the opportunity to grow crops for the animal’s consumption creating a sustainable ecosystem for the farmers. Guyanese farmers would be able to take part in the sheep programme also,” he said.

The proposal would do a lot for intra-regional trade and significantly reduce regional lamb imports from New Zealand, Griffith believed.

“It also presents great opportunities for extra regional trade, for Barbados to develop a branded product. It will take a little while to get off the ground and to get everything in place but it has great potential. Planning and scheduling farming routines and implementing best practices would be important to have the required feedlots necessary,” he stated.

In February during a visit to Barbados, President of Guyana Dr M. Irfaan Ali said that both countries faced similar issues and they could better overcome challenges if they united.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of Agrofest in Queen’s Park, St Michael and announced that he and Prime Minister Mia Mottley were working on a venture to tackle security issues in various sectors, such as agriculture, that threatened the Caribbean way of life.

Former director of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture Senator Dr Chelston Brathwaite also weighed in on the collaboration, stating in a Letter to the Editor that this was an exciting initiative and it would contribute to the development of the local agriculture industry. (SB)


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