Antigua Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs – The “Don’t Pack a Pest” programme is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the California Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as state, federal and foreign governments, and organizations.

The programme’s goal is to educate travellers about the risks associated with bringing undeclared agricultural items into the U.S. and neighbouring Caribbean countries.

The Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) Forum has partnered with the initiative and the programme has already been rolled out in several Caribbean countries. Over 680 signs have been installed in 50 Florida and Caribbean ports of entry since the program began.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda agreed to the launch of the program in 2020 but the implementation was stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative has been re-activated and is to be completed in 2023.

Placement of the signs at ports of entry frequented by the travelling public in both Antigua and Barbuda will help to safeguard the nation’s agriculture and natural resources.

Travellers will be educated about the risks associated with carrying certain types of food, plants, animals, or other agricultural items in their baggage and will be encouraged to declare agricultural items and not to pack pests or items that can carry them.

During the first week of May, the Director of the USDA’s-Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative (GCSI), Mr. Dennis Martin, alongside the Ministry of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Division, Veterinary and Livestock Division, and Communications Office held several meetings and visited the air and seaports with a view to determining suitable placements for the signage.

The Barbuda Council is to provide the necessary information for the Codrington Airport as well as River Dock.

Ports visited in Antigua included:

St. John’s Harbour
English Harbour
Nelsons Dockyard & Falmouth Harbour
Jolly Harbour Marina
North Sound Marina
Nevis Street Pier, Festivals Area and V C Bird International Airport

Signage, inclusive of barcodes directing interested persons to the “Don’t Pack a Pest” website for additional information, will be portrayed in English and other foreign languages where applicable.

In general, the “Don’t Pack a Pest” program was implemented to educate individuals on how to help keep harmful pests away. A major pest or disease outbreak could mean higher grocery bills, shortages of certain foods, and devastating losses for our farmers. The program is expected to be launched in about three months’ time.

Help us keep Antigua and Barbuda’s agriculture healthy by following the guidelines provided on what you may want to bring into the country.