The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) has put a number of arrangements in place to address the difficulties faced by stakeholders within the sector, under the current curfew.
This is in response to concerns raised, including the ability of farmers to travel to and from their farms.
Farming operations are restricted to 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the MAFS has reminded farmers that they will be permitted to use their farmers’ identification to facilitate travel during this period.
The Ministry has further advised that they should also ensure that they are able to produce another valid form of Barbados identification, such as their National Identification card.
Those who do not have valid farmers’ identification will need to have a pass. To apply for a pass, they must submit their name, address, contact information, national identification number, and nature of farming activity to the Acting Chief Agricultural Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the information is verified, a link will be provided to facilitate the submission of the application form by the farmer. Operators of farms may also apply for passes for their employees, using the aforementioned process.
Meanwhile, the MAFS has also appealed to persons to be patient, noting that numerous requests for the passes were being processed daily. It further explained that the passes were being issued by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology (MIST) and “once an application is successful, MIST will issue the pass or passes directly to the [mobile] phones of successful applicants”.
Reminding farmers to “strictly observe social distancing protocols”, the Ministry further suggested that they “should consider restricting the numbers of workers for whom they are seeking passes to a minimum”.
Exemptions granted to the sector remain in place.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has also sought to address concerns raised by non-livestock animal-holding establishments, such as wildlife reserves, zoos, aviaries, horse stables, and kennels.
The responsibility for the welfare of these animals has been vested in the Ministry under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Operators of these establishments may apply for an emergency exemption in order to provide care during the curfew period. Requests of this nature should be sent to the Senior Veterinary Officer at email@example.com.
They should submit the name, address and contact information of the establishment, along with a brief description of the necessary activities that need to be carried out on a daily basis, as well as the full name, job title, national registration number, home address and mobile number, email address and vehicle number of staff required to work.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has also sought to remind applicants that the granting of exemptions is the sole responsibility of the Attorney General.