Local agriculture gets a push
Cabinet is considering mandating Government institutions to buy at least 40 per cent local produce.
Speaking at a national consultation, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Esworth Reid also disclosed that the state-owned Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) had been mandated buy produce, wherever and whenever practicable from farmers within the food zone currently located in St George.
“Central to the effective and efficient operation of the food zone and probably the whole agricultural secretor, and this is especially so when the food zone programme is rolled out nationwide, will be a web based information and knowledge management system,” the acting permanent secretary pointed out.
He said this would allow all farmers to have ready access to relevant information to drive the agricultural sector forward.
“It will also create a forum to network all relevant stakeholders in the sector. At the same time, putting buyers in touch with producers at the right time.”
Reid said an agricultural marketing information system had already been established as a precursor to a more expansive information and knowledge management system.
“There has also been an augmentation of the number of extension officers in the field to assist food zone farmers with technical advice as it relates to crop production and crop management.”
Reid called on farmers in the food zone to channel requests for certain inputs through the BADMC so that the cheapest input prices could be sourced.
The acting permanent secretary also disclosed that the ministry and the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) were collaborating on an administrative and legislative framework to address praedial larceny.
“The ministry is now being positioned to alleviate the agricultural sector from praedial larceny. The targeting of food and livestock feeds has already started and some culprits are being arrested and brought before the law courts,” Reid said. He gave the assurance that this effort would continue with the aim of freeing Barbados of crop theft.