(CMR) The 150 heads of cattle and 30 goats that have been acquired by the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society with grant support from the Government will be arriving on the Islands shortly and placed into quarantine before they are sold.
This was revealed at a recent meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture with farmers in Cayman Brac recently to address critical issues affecting the sector.
Chief among the issues addressed were livestock importation, reintroduction of the stud program in Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands Agricultural Business Information System, and the Cayman Islands Food and Nutrition Security Policy.
Attendees at the meeting were also informed that the Government has purchased a bull that will be shipped to Cayman Brac to provide stud services to livestock farmers. The Department of Agriculture (DoA) in collaboration with the District Administration will construct a facility for the bull at the DoA Bluff’s Office so that farmers can take their animals to the location for insemination.
In commenting on Government’s plans to expand the stud bull program in Cayman Brac, Agriculture Minister Jay Ebanks stated that the intervention is necessary due to the decline in the cattle population on the Island.
“Given that our farmers in the Brac have been seeing a lowering in the genetic quality of their herd, the reintroduction of this program will help upgrade the stock and increase the cattle population significantly. This will also lead to improvement in beef quality and an increase in beef production. These initiatives are all part of the Government’s plan to strengthen the Island's food and nutrition security,” he said.
On the issue of the agricultural business information system, the farmers were encouraged to participate in the upcoming agricultural census which is slated to start in a few weeks to collect farm data across the Islands. They were also informed that the draft Cayman Islands Food and Nutrition Security Policy has been finalized and would be heading to public consultation in the second quarter of this year.
President of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, George Smith reassured the farmers that the Government is working closely with the farming community to address their needs and get input. He also praised the efforts of the Minister in supporting the farmers to have greater access to high-quality livestock for purchase and urged the farmers present to support the upcoming livestock sale.
During the meeting, several members of the farming community thanked Minister Ebanks and the teams at the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, Ministry of District Administration, Department of Agriculture and the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society for discussing the plans for the sector with them.
Other government representatives at the meeting were District Commissioner Mark Tibbetts, Deputy District Commissioner Chelsea Whittaker, DoA’s Director Adrian Eswick, Assistant Director Brian Crichlow and Senior Policy Advisor in Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure Demoy Nash.