With the PPP/C Government’s aggressive efforts to develop the livestock sector, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha said the thriving black belly sheep project is aggressively moving ahead.
Regarding preparations to accommodate the remaining set of the black belly sheep from Barbados, the Minister said.
“I am hoping that the remaining set will be coming before the first quarter of 2023. We have already started the preparations in terms of building the pens, building the pastures, and getting things in order.”
This was highlighted by the minister on Friday at the East Demerara Water Conservancy, Cane Grove, East Coast Demerara during an inspection of the three amphibious excavators.
“The 436 black belly sheep that are in Guyana, they are presently at the farms at the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA). As a matter of fact, we have had some increases because some of them have given birth. By mid-June, the programme should get going aggressively,” Minister Mustapha noted.
The aim is to allow the Caribbean to develop its own brand, replacing the New Zealand lamb and Australian lamb that are being imported to this side of the globe.
The breed is primarily raised for meat and other high-demand by-products.
The Minister added that “by the third quarter, I think 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.”
Guyana possesses adequate area, a suitable climate, and all other prerequisites for increasing the production of black belly sheep.
Guyana will play a key role in this initiative, which aims to cut the CARICOM’s food import costs by 25 per cent by 2025.
The first cargo of 132 sheep, including 20 rams and 112 ewes, landed in Guyana in August, 2022.
The programme was launched with an estimated $600 million (US$3 million) investment from the administration, and a flock of 1,000 sheep is slated to arrive.
In the national budget last year, $177.7 million was set aside for additional funding to support the promising project.
President Dr Irfaan Ali on March 27, 2022 launched the anticipated project in the Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five).