Minister says livestock may be exported
AGRICULTURE Minister Saboto Ceasar, is assessing the situation regarding livestock and available feeds in light of the on-going eruption of the soufriere volcano and destruction to areas to pasture animals.
Many livestock farmers especially in the red zone, have expressed concerns about their animals which some have let loose to give them a better chance of survival.
As he spoke at the recent roll-out of a commercial feed distribution programme for livestock farmers, Caesar said there has been a request locally to supply animal products “and we are working with the different centres to have beef available and fish.”
He added further that technicians in the Ministry’s Veterinary Division have advised that “the quantity of livestock that we have in the red zone may place extreme pressure on the feed that is available and at some point in time there may be an opportunity whereby we may have to seek an export market for some of these animals so as to lighten the burden -the pressure placed on the feed supplies.”
He pointed to the “excellent relationship” with the private sector in Grenada, to which this country has been exporting heads of cattle; adding that he however wanted “to assure Vincentians that food security and food sovereignty are [of] first importance to us and we will not be exporting animals once we need them here in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.
The minister said “a judgement call will be made from a technical standpoint, and if there are animals that will place pressure on our feed supply systems, then we will like the farmers to get a return on their investment. “ The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), provided the funding to cover the cost of the first batch of feeds for pigs and ruminants, and farmers have been collecting sacks of feed from a number of depots using their farmer ID cards to facilitate the process.