As a result of Covid-19 impacts and restrictions the Falkland Islands' Department of Agriculture has redirected surplus funds towards a salary for a third Agricultural Advisor. Director of Natural Resources Andrea Clausen told the Agricultural Advisory Committee that the move had been made in light of the high workload on the current Advisors, particularly with the need to support the investigation of Responsible Wool Handling and of businesses managing a future of lower wool and red meat prices due to uncertainties in the world market, the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.
The surplus funding comes as a result of several factors, including travel restrictions, which had prevented the usual external consultants being contracted by the department.
Mrs Clausen said the third Advisor in the form of Andrew Pollard, who started at the middle of August, would be contracted for an 11-month period and then the situation would be reviewed.
In other staffing arrangements Mrs Clausen said that Falkland Landholdings had been engaged to provide management services at Saladero to cover medical leave for the current manager who would be away for an extended period in the second half of the year.
Meanwhile Islander Erica Berntsen has completed her studies and obtained a work visa in Australia to gain relevant experience before returning to the Falklands to work as an agricultural professional.
Fellow Islander Kattrice Berntsen has headed overseas to complete her studies as a Veterinary nurse after spending a year with the department and to fill that gap Merrie Ellis has been recruited as a part time receptionist.
Huge amounts in carbon offset
There are “huge amounts of money” in carbon offset, Andy Stanworth of Falklands Conservation told the Environmental Committee last week when it looked at a report about community-based carbon offset schemes.
The committee was told that the report, published by FC, was a “starting point” that put some of the information together and provided some pointers towards “getting carbon to market”.
Committee chair MLA Leona Roberts said that there was “more work to be done” and committee member James Bates asked, “if the idea is to sell credits so other people can carry on as before?”
He said he did not know how he felt about the idea. Andy Stanworth said there would need to be a discussion and explained that there is a range of schemes with “much more rigour required” for international markets.
On the other hand, he also said that there had already been interest from local companies wanting to offset FIGAS flights.
Invasive Species Protocol
An Intra-Island Invasive Species and Biosecurity Protocol was considered by the Falkland Islands' Environmental Commmittee on September 3.
Committee chair MLA Leona Roberts said there would be consultation on the document, which Environmental Officer Denise Blake said was about tying together existing efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species and diseases.
Ms Blake said the proposal was about guidance and best practice, but Andy Stanworth from Falkland Conservation said some of the terminology didn’t sound like guidance and it was agreed that the wording could be changed to emphasise that it is intended to reflect best practice.
Changes to Yorke Bay Plans once cleared of mines
Changes have been made to the plans for access to Yorke Bay once it is completely clear of mines. Yorke Bay is in Port William, a few miles away from the Falklands' capital Stanley.
Environmental Committee heard that Environmental Officer Denise Blake and Andy Stanworth of Falkland Conservation had made a site visit to work out ways to reduce the impact on the site, including the best route for the path and the best place for the car park.
Committee chair MLA Leona Roberts said the plans were “improved”, but the committee also agreed to review the situation in a year’s time, after the first, local-only season. (Penguin News).