The bounty for the Giant African Snail is "reaping much success" after approximately 21 tonnes of snails were netted last month and 19 tonnes between the end of March and June this year.
This was disclosed by Entomologist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Ian Gibbs, who said: "The programme has been working reasonably well and the Ministry has been getting quite a number of snails, since the implementation of the bounty."
He noted that due to the significant amount of snails collected, the breeding population on the island should be considerably reduced. However, the Entomologist pointed out that while the Ministry was encouraged by the amount of snails collected per person, he lamented that the total number of individuals doing the collection was still relatively small.
"I want to encourage as many people as possible to get started with this programme because persons are not only helping themselves to make money but they are helping the country as well.?? So [there] is both a personal and nationalistic aspect to this campaign," he underlined.
Mr. Gibbs urged groups to get actively involved in the collection process. For example, the 4-H movement, church and community groups, as well as individuals who may need to raise funds for an event, or a charitable organisation.
"Some people are making small businesses out of it and I understand that now there are people who are not only collecting snails but are actually hiring people to help them.?? So, in other words it is spreading into a small business aspect, as well," he remarked.
The agriculture officer also revealed that persons who were unable to bring the snails to the Ministry of Agriculture’s, Graeme Hall, Christ Church location, could call the Entomology Department and request that the snails be collected.
"The relevant persons from the Ministry will come and collect them (the snails) from you, the process is that you can call the Ministry at telephone numbers 434-5000 or 434-5103/5107 and give your name, address and telephone number and we will make arrangements to collect the snails from you. It may not necessarily be the same day because there are some days, we (the Ministry) receive over 7,000 lbs. of snails," he explained.
Mr. Gibbs also appealed to construction companies that if they had old lumber or old wooden palettes that they wanted to dispose of, to send them to the Ministry.
"One of the bottlenecks in this process as far as the burning is concerned is that we utilise a lot of old wood and old wooden palettes, so any assistance would be welcomed," he stressed.
"The bounty is looking very encouraging and we want to keep the momentum going as much as possible. I want to encourage many more people to get on board, in terms of collecting the snails, as it is a good way for individuals or community groups to make some easy cash and help yourself and Barbados in the process," he emphasised.