Black belly sheep industry to be developed to full potential

Black belly sheep industry to be developed to full potential

Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero (right) along with Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir (second from right) and Representative of IICA in Barbados, Ena Harvey (third from right) listen to a point being made by Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to Barbados, His Excellency Gustavo Martínez Pandiani during the Cocktail Reception.

Plans are afoot to develop the local Black Belly Sheep to its fullest potential and the Director General of IICA, is on board in assisting Barbados in this endeavour.

The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero was at the time speaking against the backdrop of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture held recently in Barbados and on the sidelines of a Cocktail Reception held at the Embassy of Argentina by Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to Barbados, His Excellency Gustavo Martínez Pandiani to honour Otero’s visit, as well as that of Undersecretary of Livestock for Argentina, Rodrigo Troncoso.

“My responsibility as Director General of IICA, is creating a bridge from the cooperation point of view. I have come to put in motion a very ambitious plan for the Black Belly Sheep, which is an icon of Barbadian agriculture,” Otero who is also from Argentina noted.

He meanwhile revealed that he has already had talks with Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley and other key officials, to put these “ambitious plans” for the island’s iconic sheep in motion.

Currently, Barbados is aiming to multiply and improve herds of Black Belly Sheep from 15,000 to 600,000 sheep over the next ten years, in order to increase their productivity, guarantee the provision of meat, develop a leather industry, and produce an exportable amount of goods and IICA will be assisting with aspects of this plan.

“In the meeting we had with the Prime Minister (recently), and with the Minister of Agriculture (Indar Weir), IICA was requested to develop and unleash a very ambitious programme to strengthen the importance of the Black Belly Sheep programme. This programme in my mind should have (various dimensions), including genetic dimensions, management dimensions, the participation of the private sector, the young people and obviously rural women” the Director General explained.

“I was informed that (in terms of) the Black Belly Sheep, (you are producing) something little more than 10,000 heads. It’s possible to multiply that several times. I am beginning to think how (Barbados can) increase food (security) at the local level and even begin to export and (have) leather for preparing jackets etc. So try to think Black Belly Sheep in a comprehensive manner” Otero pointed out.

“I am thinking also in agro-tourism, why not use all the parts of this sheep. It’s an icon of Barbadian agriculture, so for us, it is very important. So we are going to be in contact with some officials in the Ministry and probably in the next week, we are probably going to design this programme” he revealed.

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