Developing meat export industry, top priority of Falklands’ Agriculture Department
It is the generation of thirty-something who as children were the first to benefit from well-funded primary and secondary education following the Islands’ economic turn-around in the late 1980’s. They were the first generation of locally educated children who could graduate in careers of their choice.
Andy Pollard is the latest example of this growing group of young people who are beginning to take up the reins of senior management in the Civil Service. He has recently been appointed Mac McArthur’s successor to head up the Department of Agriculture. As Senior Agricultural Adviser he will report to the Director of Natural Resources, John Barton and work alongside Steve Pointing, the Senior Veterinarian.
It will be a challenging role for Andy given the multi-faceted approaches to agriculture that are now part and parcel of farming in the Falklands. Challenges he is all too well aware of. The DOA is a small department but must offer skills and experience in a wide-range of services from veterinary, animal husbandry, agronomy, wool improvement, grazing management, fishery product certification and import regulation, among others. The new import substitution program, which aims to increase the variety and quantity of locally grown produce, will be a new area that will benefit from the skills that the DOA can offer. Andy will have to take all of this in his stride.
Perhaps most predominately of all, the continued development of the meat export industry will remain a top priority to ensure not only that the supply of animals can be sustained without severely reducing livestock numbers, but that the quality of the livestock continues to improve. Andy believes that focusing on improving reproductive rates, lowering stock mortality through developing systems to improve animal nutrition will be critical to build on -and sustain- the growing success of the Falkland Islands meat industry. With a general worldwide trend away from sheep to other commodities such as dairy and crops, Andy hopes that both the wool and meat industries in the Falklands will continue to benefit.
Andy Pollard graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2001 with a degree in Agriculture. More recently he achieved a post-graduate diploma in Agricultural Science from Lincoln University in New Zealand and is working towards a Masters in the same field. Since graduating from Plymouth he has held the post of Agricultural Adviser at the Department until his current promotion.
By Janet Robertson - SeAledpr - Stanley