The issue of the introduced green monkey in Barbados is a frequent topic of discussion nationally. While the green monkey population must be controlled to ensure that Barbados has a thriving agricultural sector, the monkey is also an interesting component of Barbados’ rather depleted biodiversity and is a tourist attraction. The species is also listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Due to a spike in complaints with regard to the crop damage by green monkeys in early 2019, the Minister of Environment and National Beautification requested the reconvening of the Green Monkey Sub-committee of the Working Group on Biodiversity, and declared that the concerns of farmers had become a national priority.
Various stakeholders from biodiversity conservation agencies, animal rights groups, agriculture development agencies and tourism management were assembled to chart a way forward and develop an action plan that was informed by accurate data. It was agreed however, that in the interim, there was a need for short-term measures to be devised to address the immediate problems faced by citizens; especially impacted farmers and the residents of areas frequently visited by troops.
The Ministry’s Response
Coming out of discussion of the Green Monkey Sub-committee meetings, the Ministry of Environment commissioned Mr Justin Springer of Mosaic Ecoconsult, to develop A Manual for Farmers in Barbados, with the aim to provide information for farmers experiencing losses from crop raiding Green monkeys.
The manual consists of a review of techniques used both locally and internationally to deter monkeys from raiding cultivated foods. The aim of the manual is to describe methods that farmers can try to reduce monkey crop damage, not methods to reduce monkey numbers. It is envisioned that Barbadian farmers can try the various methods, according to their situation, to gain relief from monkeys affecting crop production.
Contribution to Covid-19 Response
The effects of the novel corona virus can be felt at the national, regional and global levels. The mitigation of challenges to food security has been identified as being among one of the top priorities globally and is especially topical for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Barbados. As a SIDS, Barbados has limited land space to support the high demand for the different uses for its dense population. Like other SIDS, Barbados imports most of its food and other products. As part of its Covid-19 response plan, the Government of Barbados has made a concerted effort towards the bolstering of agricultural productivity and the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management Section, aims to support these goals through these efforts.