(CMR) Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure Hon. Jay Ebanks has affirmed Government's commitment to support local farmers to build a strong and vibrant agricultural sector.
He made the statement during a recent visit to Cayman Brac accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Isaac Rankine, Acting Chief Officer Leyda Nicholson-Makasare, Director of Agriculture Adrian Estwick, Vice President of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society Geoffry Ebanks, and other members from the Ministry.
Minister Ebanks and the team met with staff at the Department of Agriculture and toured the agricultural grounds as well as a goat, pig, and cattle farms. During the tour, he informed some of the farmers about the plans for the resuscitation of the Cayman Brac stud bull program, which is expected to provide natural insemination for the cattle and improve and diversity the genetics of stock over the next four years.
In addition, the team updated the farmers on the new livestock development plan that entails a cattle breeding program to include natural insemination and embryo transplant technology, which will be carried out across the Islands. In commenting on the tour Minister Ebanks said:
“I am particularly impressed by the efforts of our farmers and the quality of the animals. The visits to the farms provided an opportunity to engage and learn first-hand what is happening in the sector and the resources Government needs to provide to support the industry to implement modern practices. Part of our strategic approach, for the cattle industry is to increase herd size and improve local genetics. This will result in high quality beef production and ultimately enhance food security for our Islands”.
Minister Ebanks is scheduled to have discussions with his counterparts in Jamaica later this month about some key priority areas in agriculture. The invitation has also been extended to the program leads for agriculture at the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
During the visit to Cayman Brac, the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary also met with staff at the Department of Planning and were introduced to other employees at the Government Administration Building by District Commissioner Mark Tibbetts and Minister for District Administration Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly.