During a recent visit meeting with farmers on Cayman Brac, Jay Ebanks, Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, confirmed that it was his intention to support Cayman farmers and help them build a strong agricultural sector.
The MP made the visit in early July, accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Isaac Rankine, Acting Chief Officer Leyda Nicholson-Makasare, Director of Agriculture Adrian Estwick, Vice President of the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society Geoffry Ebanks and other members from the Ministry.
The visitors met with staff at the Department of Agriculture and toured the agricultural grounds, as well as a goat, pig and cattle farms. During the tour, he informed some of the farmers about the plans for the resuscitation of the Cayman Brac stud bull programme which is expected to provide natural insemination for cattle and improve and diversity the genetics of stock over the next four years.
Farmers were also updated on the new livestock development plan that is set to include a cattle breeding programme to include natural insemination and embryo transplant technology, which will be carried out across the Cayman Islands.
Minister Ebanks said he was particularly impressed by the efforts of Cayman’s farmers and the quality of the animals.
“The visits to the farms provided an opportunity to engage and learn first-hand what is happening in the sector and the resources Government needs to provide to support the industry to implement modern practices. Part of our strategic approach, for the cattle industry is to increase herd size and improve local genetics,” he advised. “This will result in high quality beef production and ultimately enhance food security for our Islands.”
During the visit to Cayman Brac, the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary also met with staff at the Department of Planning and were introduced to other employees at the Government Administration Building by District Commissioner Mark Tibbetts and Minister for District Administration Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly.
Later this month, the Minister is set to have discussions with his counterparts in Jamaica about key priority areas in agriculture. The invitation has also been extended to the programme leads for agriculture at the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute and the Caribbean Community.