Sugar production here is on the decline and its future is at the crossroads, but the industry is to benefit from the assistance of Brazil, one of the world’s leading producers of the sweet crop.
Agreements Barbadian officials signed when the island established a diplomatic mission there in 2010 are now being exploited by at least one local sugar plantation owner.
News of this came today from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean.
She said similar opportunities existed for organisations and individuals interested in using greenhouse technology for the production of fruits and vegetables.
“We would have established a mission there in 2010 and we would have signed several complimentary agreements to the basic agreement on technical cooperation agreement between the government of Barbados and … Brazil,” she told the Upper House today, as it debated concessions for Barbadians returning home.
“One area is the human resources training in all aspects of sugar production in Barbados.
“I know of one gentleman in the private sector who would have travelled to Brazil. I wouldn’t be able to say definitively whether it was under this, but obviously he was aware of our relationship and coming out of that, and I took time out to visit this operation,” she added.
McClean said while the attention of some individuals was focussed on the failures of agriculture, this was an example of a success story that needed support.
“We talk about agriculture and we talk about our failures, but we need to talk about our successes and the potential successes that there are, but on visiting that plantation what I have seen is significant investment in technology, a commitment to bring new practices to the production of our sugar cane and I can tell you that I saw some trials,” she stated.
“From what I see there is an effort to apply some of what is happening, and we know the successes that Brazil has made.
“In addition to that, there is the potential for persons who are involved in the production of vegetables and fruits in green houses and natural local fields in Barbados to explore those techniques,” the minister added.
She noted that for the last 10 years, she had worked quietly with young entrepreneurs who were interested in making a living from agriculture.
“I have been working with a number of young people who have started to get involved in agriculture in several ways, showing them how they can apply some of the basic management principles to the good management of their operations, whether they are small or potentially large,” McClean noted. (SC)