Consideration is still being given to a milk cess, but Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, says due to the current constraints, the idea is one that would have to be balanced against what the country can bear at this time.
It was last August that Minister Weir announced that the matter of the cess was being reviewed, and yesterday he told The Barbados Advocate that the Ministry, the Pine Hill Dairy and other stakeholders have completed consultations and a paper should be going to Cabinet soon for approval. But, he insisted, there is no rush to put the cess in place right now.
His comments came while at the Grantley Adams International Airport, where he joined representatives of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) and stakeholders in the dairy industry to witness the arrival of 84 in-calf heifers, the first in a batch of 159 that were expected to arrive on island by last night.
He noted that the arrival of these cows are expected to help ramp up local milk production, which currently stands at about two million kilogrammes per year, which he contended is “way below what we normally produce”. He believes that with the arrival of the heifers, all in-calf, the sector will be able to increase production significantly.