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Time to expand Blackbelly sheep industry
President of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), Carlyle Brathwaite, said it is time to look at expanding the island’s Blackbelly sheep industry.
Speaking at yesterday’s Sheep Farmers’ Forum at the BAS headquarters, he pointed out that currently there were approximately 20 000 sheep in the island, noting that these numbers should be raised to at least 100 000 to have a thriving industry.
According to him, one of the major hindrances in achieving this was a lack of land, not only to rear the sheep, but to grow the grass required to feed such numbers.
“I believe that it is time that we start calling and asking for land so that we can grow the grasses that we need to make the hay available at a cheaper rate,” he said.
He noted that with land coming out of sugar cane production, it meant that there was more available to be leased for such a purpose, so dairy and sheep farmers could access high quality feed at a lower price.
To this end, Brathwaite said he had already approached Government with the request for more land, but was awaiting word from the Ministry.
Addressing the event, which was hosted by the Barbados Sheep and Goat Farmers Incorporated, he also pointed out the viability of utilising by-products.
He said for example that the hides could be made to make leather belts and other accessories, but these were often discarded after the animal was slaughtered.
His comments followed those of President of the Barbados Sheep and Goat Farmers Incorporated, Wayne Smith, who stated that while farmers were saying that there was no money to be made from Blackbelly sheep, many Barbadians were lamenting the fact that there was hardly any on the market to be bought for consumption purposes.
“This shows that there is a market for this product and we need to position ourselves to benefit from it,” he stated. (JMB)