Blueprint for Future Falklands Prosperity:Organic Meat Exports, New Abattoir and Deep Water Port.
The Falkland Islands Government has announced a three-year development plan. Our Correspondent Harold Briley has been looking at it
Export of organic meat to world markets is one of a number of schemes outlined in a radical master plan for boosting Falkland Islands' prosperity.
Already well on the way to becoming the world's first certified organic country, the Falkland Islands Government unfolded its plan (on February 21) in what one of its leading legislators, Councillor Mike Summers, called a "document to give structure and direction to our future". He said: "It is not about maintaining the status quo, it's about change. The future economic prosperity of the Islands depends on diversification and sustainable development."
Essential pillars of the three-year development plan are construction of a deep water port and a European Union standard abattoir opening in July to process organic meat for export and for the 1,600-strong British military garrison, which at present obtains its supplies from outside.
The Falklands are on course to achieve complete organic status within two years, creating a valuable new source of income from organic meat imports, exploiting their advantage of "a clean and green" environment when elsewhere there is increasing suspicion of contaminated meat from viruses such as mad cow and foot- and- mouth disease.
Falklands animals prosper in a healthy natural atmosphere free from antibiotics in animal feed, hormone cattle implants, or artificial fertiliser. Diversification from mainly wool-producing sheep farming for which the Falklands are famous, to much- expanded meat production will give help to a depressed agricultural community with low wool prices, and, it is hoped, reverse the drift of population to the capital, Stanley.
The new deep water port will build on two major success stories of recent years. It will facilitate developments on shore of the highly successful fishing industry, already bringing in revenue averaging 20-million pounds a year from licences and harbour fees from foreign and 23 Falklands-registered vessels fishing for squid and other species abundant in Falklands waters. On shore developments include freezer plants, mussel farms, oyster beds and salmon farming.
The new port will also serve the fast -expanding cruise ship tourism, making it easier for tens of thousands of day tr