The Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment is taking steps to clamp down on the “free for all” taking place in the distribution of feed subsidies to livestock farmers on the island.
As a result the Division will be introducing a more structured distribution system for the payment of subsidies from next month. Farmers will have to be legitimately registered with the Division among other conditions.
Secretary of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment Assemblyman Godwin Adams has disclosed that an estimated $2 million was paid in feed subsidies over the last 22 months.
He said there had been some inconsistency in the distribution of the subsidy by the Marketing Department and an audit on the system was being carried out by consultants in an effort to develop a smooth distribution system.
He said the subsidy had encouraged farmers to work harder and in fact their production of goats, sheep, rabbits and other livestock had increased. He added that the Assembly will continue to provide the subsidy to the farmers.
However, he said, the Division has been forced to take steps to ensure the subsidised feed was distributed in a consistent manner.
Meanwhile, Adams said the current outbreak of the CLA (caseous lymphadenitis) disease in sheep at the Blenheim and Studley Park farms was difficult to treat but the Division was not sitting idly by and doing nothing.
He assured that CLA was not easily transmitted to humans and all protocols were in place to ensure no worker was contaminated.
The normal route of entry of the CLA-causing bacterium to previously unaffected animals was through scratches and cuts in the skin, such as those caused by shearing.