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Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir (second right), Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Peter Phillips (right); and Acting Chief Agricultural Officer Leslie Brereton, listening attentively to Lab Manager David Elcock during the tour of the Veterinary Services and the Animal Nutrition Unit on Saturday, August 22, 2020. (Photo: S Austin/BGIS)

Barbados’ Ministry of Agriculture to support safe export of poultry, seafood

Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir (second right), Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Peter Phillips (right); and Acting Chief Agricultural Officer Leslie Brereton, listening attentively to Lab Manager David Elcock during the tour of the Veterinary Services and the Animal Nutrition Unit on Saturday, August 22, 2020. (Photo: S Austin/BGIS)

Barbados’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir has shared that his ministry is going the extra mile to ensure the implementation of necessary measures that will give farmers and those involved in fisheries an opportunity to have their fish and poultry products exported.

After a two-hour tour of Veterinary Services and the Animal Nutrition Unit on Saturday, Weir said that Barbados is “ 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…”

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland (centre), looks on as Chief Executive Officer of Chickmont Foods Ltd Dominic Defreitas (left) examines one of the birds coming off from the production line. Chickmont Foods’ General Manager Edward Albecker also looks on. (Photo: GIS Barbados)

The minister also underscored the importance of the Veterinary Services and the Animal Nutrition Unit in achieving this goal. While emphasising the critical nature of the research conducted by the two departments, Weir gave the assurance that he would focus on them in a way that “has never been done before”.

Recovering from a ‘slowdown’

“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 [now is] 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.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir speaking to the media following a tour of the BARVEN outdoor marketplace on the Mighty Grynner Highway. (Photo: N Phillips/BGIS)

With the agriculture and food safety ministry now striving to maintain and meet international standards for exporting poultry and seafood, Weir noted that he will be encouraging Cabinet to approve and pass sanitary and phytosanitary measures and legislation so that the ministry can focus on providing the required resources to Veterinary Services.

“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.

“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,” Weir added.

More support

“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 [now is] that we are not able to take advantage of this… ”

— Minister of Agriculture and Food Security in Barbados Indar Weir

Joining Weir on the tour of the agriculture and food safety departments were Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Peter Phillips, Acting Permanent Secretary Terry Bascombe, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary Robert Folkes, and Acting Chief Agricultural Officer Leslie Brereton.

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.

Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Peter Phillips
(Photo: Barbados Labour Party)

“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,” Phillips stated.