Here are the latest developments regarding the COVID situation in relation to agriculture and how it might affect farmers and breeders.
Over the past few months, the MaYA Foundation has assisted several farmers who were caught under a mandatory quarantine. While doing so, we have been in close contact with relevant departments within the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health.
Until a few weeks ago, bona fide farmers were being granted exemptions, upon request and subject to approval. Such exemptions allowed farmers to visit the farm for an hour early in the morning, and an hour late a night.
Yesterday we got to know from the Quarantine team that "no exemptions can be granted for the feeding of animals / tending to crops". The email stated that the Agriculture Extension services, Fisheries as well as the Animal Health and Welfare department may be contacted. Unfortunately, as far as we know, this drastic change has not yet been communicated officially.
Following our communication with the Office of the Commissioner for Animal Welfare, we were told that "the wellbeing of the animals should always come first and farmers should always have a backup plan for feeding their animals." They also expressed their concern about preparedness and asked "What if it wasn’t Covid-19 but God forbid an accident that lands the farmer in hospital? These things happen, and preparation is key."