Ministry of Agriculture import sheeps from the US

By Michelle Sutherland
Staff Reorter

Twenty-nine Dorper and sixteen Barbados Black Belly sheep, which were born and bred in the United States (US), arrived at the Philip Goldson International Airport last Monday, imported by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The imported sheeps are a part of the December 2015 “Genetic Improvement of Sheep and Goat Production” project agreement which, was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Republic of China (Taiwan), that seeks to improve the genetics of sheep in the country through quality breeding stocks that are imported from other countries.

Andrew Harrisson, Chief Agriculture Officer from the ministry told the Reporter that originally the ministry wanted to import the sheep species from Mexico, however the farms did not meet the requirements set out by the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) and as a result had to import the new stock from the US.

Harrison further said that personnel from the ministry of agriculture saw the opportunity to open a breeding facility for sheep producers to have access to certified breeding sheep in order to improve their flocks after observing that the quality of sheep had fallen locally.
The imported sheep are currently on a thirty-day quarantine at the ministry’s livestock section in Central Farm and will be available for purchase at a cost of $600 for the male and $400 for the female in seven months.

The project has a three-year duration with a budget of US $1.67 million of which the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) will provide US $1.32 million while the Government of Belize will provide $0.35 million.

The importation of the sheep stock is the second component of the project as last year the first phase saw the implementation and expansion of the infrastructure at the National Sheep and Goat breeding center in Central Farm.

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