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Paul: Need for shift in agriculture

A dynamic shift in the use of renewable energy in agriculture is necessary if Barbados is to reduce its reliance on foreign energy.

In fact, CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, said at a renewable energy workshop for women in agriculture this morning that developing countries seemed reluctant to put the needed money and effort into renewable energy applications in agriculture that their developed counterparts did.

“We in the developing countries, we don’t really emphasise that and I think that the unfortunate thing we are seeing especially in the developing countries is that the same priority that has been given to renewable energy, especially in developed countries, we somehow have appeared very reluctant in doing so.

“One of the things I need to emphasise is this, that while in those countries they are prepared to put the resources behind it, we ourselves have demonstrated a kind of slowness in terms of doing it.

“When you look sometimes at our expenditure, especially in relation to Government on an annual basis, you can see that if we don’t do some dynamic shifts or shifts that mean something for the sector, we are going to have problems in the future.”

He was speaking at a DIREKT-sponsored three-day workshop at Amaryllis Hotel, titled Renewable Energy Options for the Agriculture Sector with a Focus on Women Farmers.

Renewable energy, Paul stressed, was “the wave of the future”, and it should be noted that imported energy was not sustainable, especially in agriculture.

“[A]lso especially when we see other viable technologies that are there being adopted by our developed countries in some cases giving them a competitive advantage over us and when we look at it we have to demonstrate a greater willingness.”

One of the challenges, he said, was that developing countries liked to “talk about things a lot”, but when it came to putting money where their mouth was, there was unwillingness.

“As a matter of fact, it was said recently that we demonstrate a willingness to invest a million dollars to hold a concert and to have all these Crop-Over festivities, but when it comes to the things that are going to result in our long term development, especially relevant to our productive sectors, we show hesitance.

“That is why I believe that we need as a country and as a sector to mobilise all the resources that are necessary in terms of time to develop our agriculture sector and we need to start where it most matters and that is in our agriculture sector,” said Paul. (LB)

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