It is possible for Barbados to produce 60 to 65 per cent of the agricultural produce consumed by Barbadians.
This was revealed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Esworth Reid. He was delivering the keynote address at a National Consultation Workshop presentation on the vulnerability and capacity assessment of Barbados’ first Food Zone, on Monday at the Savannah Hotel.
The Permanent Secretary said that research has shown that Barbadian farmers and processors can produce more food and secure a “greater share of the 340 million US dollars annually that we spend to import food into Barbados”.
The Agriculture official explained that the first food zone project, located in St. George and St. Michael, was an initiative by Government to increase food security.
“The hope is for these small farmers to become exposed to certain processes and techniques that would enable them to effectively adopt and reap benefits from modern international best practices in agricultural production. This is as they relate to post-harvest handling, agro processing, product placement and the export and marketing of their product,” he stated.
Mr. Reid acknowledged that because of Barbados’ geographical zone, the country was vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change, and he believed it was critical to “mitigate the gap between the occurrence of these events and our response”.
He disclosed that a number of projects were being planned to assist with climate change, including the construction of dams and catchment areas; the establishment of irrigation zones; and the introduction of crops that were pest and disease resistant.
“Further investigation will be conducted into the technology of covered systems like green houses and plastic covers. Different farming techniques like intercropping and agroforestry systems will be further investigated. In the area of livestock, we are looking at farmers’ water collection and management systems,” the Permanent Secretary added.
Published on December 9, 2014 by Aisha Reid