Guyana receives 1st batch of black belly sheep from Barbados

Mere months after President Dr Irfaan Ali launched a black belly sheep project in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and announced that Guyana would receive 1000 black belly sheep from Barbados, on Thursday, the first batch arrived on Guyana’s shores.

Black belly sheep being transported off the vessel and onto the wharf

Some 132 black belly sheep arrived on a vessel at the Rambaran Wharf, Water Street, Georgetown. Of this batch, 112 are ewes and 20 are rams.

Four of Guyana’s first batch of black belly sheep

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, in brief remarks at the Wharf, said now the first batch of black belly sheep has arrived, they would be taken to the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), where the sheep would be introduced to Guyana’s conditions and new eating patterns. He said it was important for the environment to be accommodating to the species of sheep in Guyana.
“Today is reality that we have received the first shipment or the first batch of sheep coming from Barbados. We have 132 – 112 ewes and 20 rams. This is the first batch and this will be taken to the GLDA location where we’ll prepare them to introduce them to Guyana’s conditions. We’ll have to wean them off the normal food in Barbados so that we can give them food in Guyana and start to make the environment more accommodating for them,” the Agriculture Minister explained.
Given this first shipment, Minister Mustapha said that he was looking forward to having the remaining 868 black belly sheep arrive in the next two expected shipments.
“As a matter of fact, I’m looking, in the other two shipments, we can have all of the 1000 black belly to come to Guyana,” he said.
The President launched the black belly sheep project back in March when he declared that Mahaica-Berbice could be the livestock capital of the Caribbean. It is an investment of US$3 million for 2000 black belly sheep.
To this end, Mustapha noted that works were moving apace in Region Five as a number of pens were being prepared for the black belly sheep.
“Works are moving apace in Region Five where we are now preparing a number of other pens so that those sheep pending to come from Barbados will be going there, so we can also continue the preparation.”
The collaboration between Guyana and Barbados, according to Mustapha, is one way of working to reduce the food import bill not only in Guyana but also in the Caribbean.
He said, “This here will be a very important project for us in Guyana and in the Caribbean. This is one of the ways we are working to reduce the food import bill and when you look at the importation of meat and meat products in the Caribbean, it is a large percentage of foreign revenue to import that. So, we are hoping to build the livestock industry and Guyana has to play that leading role.”
Barbados’s representative, Alphea Wiggins assured that the other batches of black belly sheep would arrive safely in Guyana. (G2)