The newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Hon. Samantha Marshall paid a visit to three departments within the Ministry of Agriculture recently.
The purpose of the visits to the Dunbar’s Lab, the former Veterinary and Livestock Division’s office and the Plant Protection Unit ,was to see first-hand how these departments operate and the infrastructure work that needs to be done in order to provide a more comfortable working environment for staff as well as to improve productivity within the ministry and the agriculture sector in general.
“To see what renovations or retrofitting we can perhaps do in terms of priority so that they can be better functional,” stated Ms. Marshall. She continued, “ We will focus on not just ensuring that we are producing but for those departments that actually bring in a revenue, we need to upgrade those departments so that they can generate more revenue,” stated Minister Marshall.Director of Analytical Services Dr. Linroy Christian noted the importance of the minister’s visit as she was able to see first-hand the issues which they are faced with and aid them in finding solutions.
“It is always useful to have the minister visit as you look at issues that we are having and we have to find solutions,” stated Dr. Christian. He pointed out to minister the buildings that are in need of repairs as a matter of importance to the overall development of the department.
A few years ago the services of the Analytical Services Division was expanded to include operations at the Point Wharf Laboratory facility. This facility houses the Analytical Chemistry department which provides a number of services such as heavy metal and pesticide residues analyses. The Friars hill road Dunbar’s facility comprised the main Administrative Office and the Microbiology and Molecular Biology departments.
However with fresh attention now being given to planned renovations at the Dunbar’s facility, a broadening of the scope of services is anticipated to include the provision of a mosquito lab, a tissue culture, as well as a bio lab to increase the sustainability of the department. While at Dunbar’s, the Minister also visited the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals unit where the Registrar, Mr. Jonah Ormond shared information on how they operate and provisions that can be made to increase capacity.