Bleak future for poultry industry
A new study is forecasting a bleak future for this country’s food and livestock industries, including rising chicken deaths.
The draft report on Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) study was presented this morning by lead consultant Professor Bhawan Singh and agriculture specialist Dr Kenel Delusca during a national consultation at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.
The four-month research, which examined the impact climate change on both sectors, found that, with an expected one degree Celsius increase in temperature predicted by 2030 and a further two degree Celsius rise by 2060, along with a drop in rainfall and persistent drought, the livestock industry was likely to be negatively affected.
The study revealed that the greatest impact was likely to be felt by poultry, beef cattle and dairy sub-sectors with “direct impacts will be triggered by the exposure of chicken, beef cattle and dairy cows to adverse climate conditions”.
The 183-page document further warns of reduced feed intake, fertility levels and increased mortality in the poultry sector.
In his presentation, Dr Delusca pointed out that the climate in the region was already changing, with Barbados becoming warmer in recent times.
He also cautioned that future food crop and livestock yields would decline.
In the case of sugar cane, the expected change was expected to be “between minus three and minus 34 per cent, for tomatoes between minus 13 and minus 59 per cent”.
He however said that cassava was considered “the crop for the future because it has a big tolerance to drought”.
Dr Delusca however warned that very significant losses in meat production were likely and that cows would show signs of serious illness and may ultimately die.
“So this is telling us that we have to be careful with the cow activity or performance in the future, because we are going to have high temperature and high humidity.”
The researcher therefore suggested that going forward there was need for more experimental data in order to present a more comprehensive and effective model, which would allow Barbados to better adapt to the impact of climate change on its agricultural industry.
Today’s national consultation was expected to come up with a final adaptation document for climate change.