The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has imported 1400 white Muscovy ducklings from the United States of America (USA) to augment its current production levels.This is according to Chief Executive Officer Nigel Cumberbatch, who said the ducklings would serve as breeding material for the authority.“These ducklings were imported from the USA and they were declared free of any infectious or contagious disease such as Duck Virus Hepatitis, Duck Virus Enteritis, Cholera, Salmonella and other such diseases by the United States Department of Agriculture. The hatchlings from this importation would be sold to the farming community for rearing for meat production,” Cumberbatch noted.The Muscovy ducks are used primarily for meat production as the meat is less greasy and contains less fat than the other breeds of ducks. Additionally, male Muscovy ducks can attain as much as 5.5 kg within 12 weeks once proper animal husbandry is practised.GLDA said in a statement on Thursday that it has the responsibility to ensure its continuous support to a vibrant livestock industry which provides safe food for the population and generates income for rural and urban households, all while making optimal use of available resources and competing with producers beyond its borders.It reminded the general public and all livestock farmers in particular that the illegal importation of livestock and livestock products into Guyana poses serious risks to the health of humans and animals as it prohibits GLDA’s ability to ensure that whatever is imported is free from exotic diseases. The GLDA, when contacted by Guyana Times, on Thursday said this importation has no connection with the recent ban by Trinidad and Tobago on poultry from Guyana and noted that it was imported primarily for breeding purposes.Persons are being encouraged to give their full corporation to the Ministry in order to safeguard the health of the nation by reporting any and all instances of illegal animals and livestock product imports (smuggling) to the authority on telephone numbers 220-6556, 220-6557 or via email at email@example.com or the nearest police station.Only recently, the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago announced a ban on all poultry, raw and cooked, from entering from Guyana.Guyana’s Agriculture Ministry said it was not previously advised on the ban and described the move as “ill-advised” and “premature,” as the consumption of poultry meat posed no health risks.The GLDA in a statement had said that “the GLDA wishes to assure the general public that the issue with the duck disease, which has been suspected to be, but has not been confirmed as Duck Hepatitis Virus, has been contained and restricted to six duck farms on the coast of Guyana. Measures implemented, including the closure of our hatchery, the only one in Guyana that hatches duck eggs commercially, have assisted in containing the disease. The disease has not manifested itself in the other poultry sectors [of] chicken, turkey and Guinea bird, and has only been observed in ducklings between the ages of 3 to 15 days old”. The Agriculture Ministry also advised the public that it is safe to consume all poultry products despite the actions of the Trinidadian Government.Trinidad and Tobago’s (T&T) Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Ministry, on May 31 issued a complete ban on all poultry emanating from Guyana after expressing concerns over duck viral hepatitis.The memo stated “As instructed by the Chief Veterinary Officer Animal Health Sub-Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries in accordance with the Animals (Diseases and Importation) Act Chap 67:02 please be informed that with immediate effect all and any raw and cooked poultry meat from Guyana is banned from entry into Trinidad and Tobago until further notice. Upon arrival at ports of entry, such items are, therefore, to be seized for destruction”.T&T’s Agriculture Minister, Clarence Rambharat, confirmed the ban and revealed that Guyana advised them of the presence of duck virus hepatitis in a part of the country while noting that the virus is not present in the twin-island Republic.