Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha has disclosed that Guyana will not renege on its decision for the black belly sheep programme to be rolled out shortly in Region Five.
Already, Minister Mustapha highlighted that about 42 applicants from Region Five, alone, have already signalled their interest in being a part of the programme.
He made the disclosure when questions were being posed by the Opposition during the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly, on Wednesday.
The Committee of Supply has approved $100 million towards the Guyana Livestock Authority (GLDA) to enhance further development.
When questioned by the Opposition about the delay in the rolling out of the programme, Minister Mustapha pointed out, “We are working with Barbados jointly on this programme. Barbados had to secure these sheep before they gave us. Barbados told me last year that we will receive the sheep at some point in time..”
He continued by saying, “When you look at the budget, you will see that we have catered for that tranche to come to Guyana before the first half of this year.”
Speaking directly about the criteria being utilised for the distribution of the of sheep, he explained, “we are now scrutinising and working out an arrangement… The arrangement that we have with the farmers is that when we give them two ewes and a ram… They have to provide back animals to the GLDA for three breeding cycles.”
As part of the black belly sheep project, Guyana will be receiving the remaining set of 293 black belly sheep from Barbados, before the end of the first half of 2024.
To date, Guyana has a total of about 707 sheep.
Through this programme, Guyana has 547 ewes and 163 rams.
Guyana has already invested $600 million to kickstart the programme in 2022. Under the programme, Barbados will supply 1,000 sheep to Guyana.
As Guyana continues with its robust agenda to reduce CARICOM’s high food import by 25 per cent by 2025, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali launched the programme in Region Five in March 2022.
Guyana received the first flock of sheep, 132, from Barbados in August 2022.
The breed is mainly reared for meat and by-products that are in high demand.