Minister of Agriculture, Indar Weir (second right) ; Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Peter Phillips (far right); and acting Chief Agricultural Officer, Leslie Brereton, listening attentively to Lab Manager David Elcock during the tour. (S. Austin/BGIS)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is keen on putting the necessary measures in place to give farmers and those involved in fisheries an opportunity to have their fish and poultry products exported.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, shared this yesterday, after a two-hour tour of Veterinary Services and the Animal Nutrition Unit.  

Those present on tour included the Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Phillips; Acting Permanent Secretary, Terry Bascombe; acting Deputy PS, Robert Folkes; and acting Chief Agricultural Officer, Leslie Brereton.

Mr. Weir underscored the importance of the Veterinary Services and the Animal Nutrition Unit, saying they were extremely critical in the 21st century.

“We are now at the point where we are going to go back to the sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which will put Barbados where it really ought to have been before, in terms of our ability to trade and export poultry products and fish and also develop agro processing….

“From what I understand, in visiting one of the labs here, our milk was at a stage where it could have passed the tests in terms of European standards, and the fact that we are not able to take advantage of this simply because…many of the services that were delivered here had to either be curtailed or slowed down, due to many changes that took place,” he said.

He stressed that in going forward, he would urgently seek Cabinet’s approval for the sanitary and phytosanitary measures and legislation, so the Ministry could focus on providing the required resources to Veterinary Services.

Mr. Weir gave the assurance that he would focus on the two departments in a way that “has never been done before”, as he stressed the importance of the research being done there.

“When I introduced the medicinal cannabis legislation, I spoke to Barbados being a Centre of Excellence for research and development and this now must be replicated as far as livestock is concerned….  We have to make sure that we keep Barbadians protected from potential outbreaks of animal diseases,” he stated.

Mr. Weir thanked the staff for their hard work and the sacrifices they were making to deliver “so much” on behalf of the farmers and the country.

Minister Phillips said the tour was eye-opening as he learned a lot in relation to those diseases that could affect animals as well as human beings.

“We need to be able to export some of our agricultural produce…. Barbados has to become, in some instances, an even greater service economy, because where we do not have the tourists necessarily coming, we have other services that we can offer to bolster and boost the economy…and that is very important.

“I’m certainly impressed by what we have seen here, and certainly within the Cabinet of Barbados, Minister Weir and I will be pushing hard…. We cannot say everything we need that we will possibly get, but certainly we have to put the cards on the table and make it quite known as to exactly what we need, and we can take it from there,” Mr. Phillips stated.

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