GEORGETOWN, Guyana - The Ministry of Agriculture is currently putting safe and adequate transportation mechanisms in place for the import of 1000 Barbados black belly sheep expected to land here within two months.
Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said Guyana and Barbados have advanced talks on the initiative.
“We will try to get sufficient transportation to bring 1000 of the animals to Guyana. I can’t give a time stamp, but I am hoping that very shortly, within a month or two they can be available to Guyana,” he said.
Mustapha said Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Mottley has instructed her Minister of Agriculture and his team to ensure that the small ruminant animals are sent at the earliest.
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali recently launched the Black Belly Sheep Project in Mahaica-Berbice, as his administration moves to intensify Guyana’s agriculture program.
Farmers have already been assured that the government will give full support to the industry to prepare their fields for the initiative.
Already, 78 farmers have signaled their interest in the project and have signed up, making about 1,325 acres of their land available.
The world import value on mutton and mutton products is estimated at eight billion US dollars with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping importing 7,900 tons of mutton at US$48 million annually. The four major markets in the region are the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Guyana is looking to expand its local production above 7,000 tons at the end of a five-year period. The approach will require a capital investment of over GUY$231.8 billion (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) and approximately 25,000 acres of land. The expected earning is estimated at ovGUY$8.6 billion annually.
“We have right within our arms’ reach a market that can generate a value of US$48 million. And who supplies CARICOM right now? Australia and New Zealand. With the cost of freight and logistics cost increases, it is becoming more and more expensive, that is why this is a low hanging fruit, CARICOM is right within our arms’ reach,” Ali said.