Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2018 Contents SUNDAY 8 APRIL, 2018 -- UWI TODAY 11
e current Minister of Agriculture, Clarence Rambharat,
has inherited this unpleasant state of a airs and he knows
that it has come down to making the best of a terrible
"It is widely accepted that despite its initial presence in
T&T since the 1980s and its rapid increase in the mid-1990s
little was done towards the eradication of Brucellosis. I am at
pains to di erentiate between the eradication of Brucellosis
and the eradication of Brucellosis-positive animals. One
will lead to the other, but this is in no way a destruction
of the genetic material or an abandonment of livestock
development. On the contrary, tackling Brucellosis frontally
is a mandatory part of developing the sector," he said in an
He said that a PAHO/WHO Report on Brucellosis in
Trinidad and Tobago, dated April 30, 2013, had inputs from
a team at the Ministry of Agriculture, which included the
Permanent Secretary, the Chief Technical O cer, the lead
of the Livestock Division and the Chief Veterinary O cer,
and that representatives of the Ministry of Health and the
Livestock Board also participated.
He said that the Mora Valley herd "is the highest
contributor of Brucellosis numbers in Trinidad,"
(Estimates are that the herd numbers less than a
thousand head, but it is di cult to verify because even
perimeter fencing has been compromised.)
e Minister identi ed ve items as the "key takeaways"
from the Report:
1. Health and Agriculture need to work together.
2. Isolate and slaughter the positive animals at Mora
Valley and Sugarcane Feed Centre.
3. Identify and preserve animals for future breeding.
4. Develop a coordinated plan and involve Nestle. is
should include surveillance.
5. Review the law.
Entrance to Mora Valley Estate. Minister of Agriculture, Clarence
Rambharat says "the Ministry will cull the herd while at the same time
preserving the Brucellosis-free genetic material we have at Aripo."
A Grim Inheritance
preparation. is is supported by IICA.
• I have met with Nestle on several occasions. Nestle
brought in dairy experts from Brazil. We have agreed
on a project to identify and develop model dairy
farms using existing farmers and farms; a working
committee has been agreed on and this is close to
• Mora Valley is doing the culling -- not complete or
• Dr. Knights is working on identifying the best genetic
material for the purpose of preservation and long
When I asked him about the State's plan, he said he has
articulated the position several times.
"We cannot develop Bu alypso without addressing
the high level of Brucellosis positives in the largest herd
[at Mora Valley]. So, the Ministry will cull the herd while
at the same time preserving the Brucellosis-free genetic
material we have at Aripo. At the same time we will shi
our attention to using one of the farms -- no decision yet
on which one -- to expand the number of Brucellosis-free
animals we have available. Any further policy decision will
be dependent on the interest of private farmers in Bu alypso
for their own herds."
He also explained that, "From a policy perspective
the genetic material is important to the country and this
is being addressed. At the same time, for the long-term
development of Bu alypso, we have to reduce the number
of Brucellosis-positive animals in accordance with expert
advice and develop Brucellosis-free herds."
It is not a new plan, but what will make the di erence
is the will to implement it.
Few are hopeful. They've heard it too many times
He also identi ed the steps he had taken since he
assumed o ce in 2015.
"Taken a policy decision in July 2016 to implement
the PAHA/WHO recommendations.
• Engaged Dr. Marlon Knights to conduct a
comprehensive livestock sector review, including a
review of Brucellosis and the impact on the genetic
• Formally took a leadership role on Food Safety and
the working relationship between [the Ministries of]
Health and Agriculture. Presented the Minister of
Health with Terms of Reference for our Ministries to
collaborate closely. is has gone well, and a National
Food Safety Policy and the supporting manuals are
at an advanced stage of dra ing a er technical work
and public consultations. is is supported by PAHO
• Commissioned work on animal health legislation;
participated in reviews of dra ; participated in
consultations; that dra is at an advanced stage of
e Culling Fields: Some of the
herd at the Mora Valley Estate.
PHOTOS: NANDITA RASTOGI
Bu alypso's Last Stand SPECIAL REPORT BY VANEISA BAKSH
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