Barbados must export more

Government needs to seek ways to get producers to export more says, Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Rural Development, Gline Clarke.

One of the ways this could be achieved, especially in the current economic environment, he said, was to supply producers with not only adequate financing but technical support as well in areas such as research, accounting and marketing.

In his contribution as the House discussed Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development yesterday, the former Minister of Housing also said that while there was some funding available, the inability to access these funds and grants caused the most issues for small business entrepreneurs. “There are many businesses who have to pay a lot of money for accounting services, to set up their businesses, to establish their businesses and get plans in order to go to the bank because many people cannot do that.

“When we look at our local industry, for example the rum shop, hair dresser, cottage industry, dress making, small contractors and hawkers, they have not moved very much over the past 20 years and I believed that we need to do something about this,” said the St. George North MP.

“There are many business that are suffering and suffering bad. Within this ministry there are many grants for individuals, grants for professional services, non-profits organisations; but the problem is how do I access these funds?

“Fund Access has been around for some time but there are many businesses that cannot access it and when they try to access it takes sometimes a year before you can access any funds at all. There are many businesses who have applied to the fund but cannot get the fund because maybe the technical support is not there.

“So we have to be able to educate, to train, to look at labelling in order to meet the international market. It is true that they are a number of cases where micro enterprises have developed over time but many of them soon go out of production. Many businesses are established, whether they are in the agricultural sector, services, they come to fruition and very soon they go out,” he said. (KC)†††††

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