Agriculture ministry says efforts continue to eradicate snails

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For the second time in recent weeks the government has attempted to provide more details about the eradication programme to eliminate the Giant African Snail following increased backlash from members of the public, especially local farmers.
In a press release issued to the media yesterday, the Ministry of Agriculture said the Giant African Snail Task Force under the auspices of the Plant Protection Unit continues its efforts to destroy the invasive and dangerous pest, which to date has infested at least 28 locations or about 20 per cent of Antigua & Barbuda.
According to the ministry, baiting of infested areas, particularly those considered to be of higher risk, continues. In addition, as far as available human resource and transportation allows, snails are collected from infested areas or from residents who have done the collections themselves.
 The release also spoke of ongoing partnerships with the Antigua & Barbuda Airport Authority to manage the Giant African Snail that has encroached on the airport compound from the adjacent Burma area and the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to ensure that the bait applications do not negatively impact the authority’s wellfields/watersheds.
The Ministry of Agriculture release was issued hours after farmers took to the airwaves once more to lament government’s inability to effectively manage the invasion which was first discovered in 2008.
Noted farmer George Purcell told OBSERVER media, on Monday, that if the situation is not brought under control the entire country will be held at ransom.
According to the veteran farmer, the country’s food security is at stake as well as our main waterways.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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