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Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, announced preparations are being put in place to accommodate the remaining set of black belly sheep from Barbados.
The US$3 million (GY$600 plus million) programme targets 1000 sheep. An additional $177.7 million was also set aside to support the project.
The first cargo of 132 sheep, including 20 rams and 112 ewes, arrived in August, 2022. Another batch arrived in November. Back then the government said all were expected by November. Thus far only 436 are in Guyana.
But speaking last Friday at the East Demerara Water Conservancy, Cane Grove, East Coast Demerara, during an inspection of the three amphibious excavators, Zulfikar said he is “hoping that the remaining set will be coming before the first quarter of 2023.”
According to the minister the government has started preparation for the remaining “in terms of building the pens, building the pastures, and getting things in order.”
The breeding of these sheep is part of CARICOM’s efforts to reduce the region’s Food Import Bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
“The implementation of the CARICOM Agri-Food Systems Strategy in the Member States, is expected to help achieve this target, by giving special attention to priority crops and products such as poultry, corn, soya, meat (Goat, Sheep, Beef), rice and niche vegetables which are highly imported products in the region. Presently the Food Bill is approximated to be US$5 Billion annually.”
The breed is primarily being raised for meat and other high-demand by-products.
And according to the minister “by the third quarter, everything should be in place. We should activate the process in by getting the farmers to start the process and they will receive their quota so that we could start the plan that we want to create. That initiative is moving apace.”
The 436 black belly sheep in Guyana are said to be presently at the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) farms. Some of them have given birth said the minister.