THE Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), on Tuesday, received its official certification from the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS), bringing it one step closer to offering quality testing and results for the livestock industry. During a simple ceremony at GLDA’s Mon Repos facility, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said the services offered by the GLDA remain paramount to Guyana’s development as it relates to the livestock sector. “We are here to mark a significant achievement of the GLDA and the Ministry of Agriculture. This agency is a very important agency to Guyana’s livestock sector and government is positioning it to be what it was meant to be when it was formed. Over the years, we’ve seen a number of important steps taken by the GLDA to get it to where it is today. Now that our country is on the verge of taking off and experiencing rapid development, the services of the GLDA remain paramount in the country’s development as it relates to the livestock sector. This laboratory started at the ministry’s head office as a sample processing unit and later transitioned into an auxiliary unit of the GLDA, through the acquisition of an IDB loan.
This enabled GLDA to construct a new laboratory equipped to improve the quality of services offered to the livestock industry. Today, we are witnessing another milestone in its evolution. government is keen on making the necessary investments to ensure Guyana remains food secure and agencies like the GLDA will have to play a very important role. This is why facilities like the Veterinary Services Laboratory are critical for us to advance the sector. Now that we are receiving this certification, the laboratory will be recognised in the country and, hopefully, in the near future, across the Caribbean,” Minister Mustapha said. The subject minister also disclosed that, for GLDA’s 2021 Capital Programme, almost $66 million will be expended to expand the sector. He added that facilities of this nature will be developed and enhanced over time, in keeping with government’s overall development agenda which involves promoting food security in the Caribbean.
The Veterinary Services Laboratory is now a certified laboratory to the GYS 170:2009 Standard. Since its commissioning back in August 2014, the laboratory has also improved and expanded its services to cater to the needs of the livestock industry, wildlife trade, public health, and universities, both locally and overseas.
While offering brief remarks, GLDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Grayson Halley, said that the laboratory will aid with gearing farmers and producers for the export of livestock and livestock commodities. “This laboratory is a necessity. We can derive greatly from this laboratory in terms of gearing our farmers and producers for the export of livestock and livestock commodities. I’ve seen many requests for the importation of livestock commodities. When questioned as to why it is that we cannot produce these things in Guyana, it is mainly due to the monitoring, surveillance, phytosanitary measures, and facilities. This laboratory is one such tool that will enable us to structure the livestock sector and gear it towards fulfilling the requirements and criteria of the international bodies and buyers of our products,” Dr. Halley said.
The CEO also said that local large-scale livestock farms have already made requests to carry out sampling at the facility and that GLDA is now working to put systems in place to have those tests carried out immediately. Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Waldron, while offering brief remarks, said that the certification of the laboratory demonstrates the continued commitment under her ministry’s commerce portfolio to develop Guyana’s competitiveness. She also stated that, with the emerging oil and gas sector, it is important for Guyana’s products to remain competitive so as to remain attractive and stand out on the international market.
GLDA is now actively working to have the facility accredited, thus putting it on par with other laboratories of its kind, around the world.
With Guyana battling the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, GLDA’s laboratory has also demonstrated its capability to support national development programmes that are considered external to its mandate. The laboratory was able to make its Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine available to assist with testing for the Coronavirus.