September 1, 2017: ‘Today represents a very significant day to the Muslim community; and it is also a very significant day for livestock farmers. Supporting the farmer and the farm is far more important as we focus on what the farmers need ’, words of Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries as he joined members of the local Muslim community in celebration of Eid al-Adha, on Friday 1st September, 2017 at the Livestock Farm of Shiraz Khan, Carlsen Field. Stating that it is a joy to be able to support the Muslim community, Rambharat said ‘today also represents an opportunity for me to see first hand what is happening on Shiraz’ farm’. He also said ‘this is farm to table here, you know where your food is coming from and you can have a conversation with the farmer and you understand your food’. ‘If you make a decision to support the farmer in your community, you can [play a part in] reducing the food import bill’.
Outlining plans for the local sector, the Minister shared that ‘the Ministry has just completed a very comprehensive research activity of the livestock sector’ with a series of recommendations being submitted by the consultant, Dr. Marlon Knights, ‘which has been accepted by me’. The Minister noted particularly that ‘the Ministry is directing too much of its resources towards itself [with the result being that] the farmers are not being supported [in the way that they require, including provision of] breeding stock and semen, embryo transfer, a centralized area to produce forage for farmers’; further that they (the farmers) ‘do not have ready and timely access to veterinary services’. The Agriculture Minister also outlined some areas of focus for future improvement, including the efficiency of staffing and use of resources, with the hope that ‘we will see a reduction in some of the activities that we [as a Ministry] should not be involved in’. Plans to explore public-private partnership are also on the cards for the sector.
Taking to task what some may consider a bane in the local sector, Senator Rambharat said that he will address the issue of ‘fake vets’, where unqualified individuals offer privately professional veterinary services. ‘This is a serious issue, it has been raised, it has not been addressed; and I intend to address it’.
Shiraz Khan, livestock farmer, on whose holdings the celebrations took place made a call to persons to ‘pray for the country and hope that with the slaughtering of the animals, people will remove the negative aspects of their lives and replace it with good’.
Thanking the Ministry for its support, farmer Khan said that had it not been for the Ministry they would not have had the bales of feeding stock used for feeding his animals and those of other livestock farmers within the past few months.
Eid al-Adha, or "Festival of Sacrifice", is celebrated by Muslims to mark the occasion when Allah (God) appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, to demonstrate his devotion to the Almighty.