Barbados must reduce food imports


Barbados must step up to the plate and reduce its dependency on food imports, says Agriculture Minister Dr David Estwick.

Blaming the current shortage of some fruits and vegetables in local supermarkets on the recent passage of Hurricane Matthew, Dr Estwick stressed the island would be better off if it produced and consumed more local foods.

“If we do not produce our own food, we will be forced to rely on costly imports and by extension put our own food security and labour force at risk. The recent shortages of imported fruits and vegetables in the local supermarkets due to the passage of Hurricane Matthew in Florida, is evidence of Barbados’ vulnerability.

“The reality is that events that impact negatively on food production overseas will undoubtedly affect us if we allow this status quo to continue,” Dr Estwick warned as he addressed the graduation ceremony of the Youth Agri-preneurship Incubator programme at the Savannah Hotel last night.

Joanna Waterman receives the Most Outstanding Female award from CEO of Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Celeste Foster


Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Celeste Foster present valedictorian Ramon Moore with his awards.

He urged Barbadians to abandon the view that the importation of food was vital and that foreign produce was better than those grown locally.

“I do not believe or I do not subscribe to the view that because we signed on to the WTO [World Trade Organization] in 1994, that we should necessarily accept the position that because something can be gotten cheaper someplace else that we should bring it in to Barbados and not grow those products locally and not provide domestic employment for ourselves. I am not accepting that logic at all.

“I am also not going to accept the reasoning that as long as you have foreign exchange you are going to import all your food. That is rubbish.”

The outspoken minister said the tourism sector and the Ministry of Social Care were critical to turning around the island’s high food import bills and he instructed his permanent secretary Esworth Reid to enlist the support of the two players to turn things around.

“I am saying without fear, set up meetings with the Barbados Hotel Association and sit down and get them to understand that they can contribute to the savings of foreign exchange and to the development of a sustainable agricultural platform in Barbados”.

With respect to the Ministry of Social Care, Dr Estwick added, “the modern agricultural platform also necessitates that our welfare system of consumption be linked to domestic production, we can no longer be having large numbers of persons in this country who are being supported by the state on a monthly basis but yet they buy the foods from America with your [taxpayers money]”.

He also used the occasion to announce that his ministry was in the process of establishing a packing and processing plant as he expressed concern about wastage.

“For too long we’ve been talking about bringing farmers and the market together, now if you produce food and you don’t eat all yourself, there are only two things you can do with it. You only sell some or you process some . . . too much food is wasted on the farms, and post-harvest management has to now be dealt with in an organized way. I wish it wasn’t the state doing it but it seems as though in small countries that the state has to do everything and then the private sector say they could do it better.”

World Food Day is being celebrated across the globe today under the theme Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture must too.


37 Responses to Barbados must reduce food imports

  1. Kevin Gibson
    Kevin Gibson October 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    You are speaking from a position as a supplier or a customer because we are only doing what you have taught us to do be consumers get everything in one stop fast and easy even if it is killing slowly!

  2. jrsmith October 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    ( Here we go again he is at it ), my take bajans need to grow more and to consume most of what’s grown on the island but also think the possibility of exporting, but then we have couple problems , thieving and ghost importing where containers is always turning up at our port …but who is honest enough to speak out of what’s going on…………………..

    I just cant see who is going to put this economic mess we have in Bimshire right , but bajans will never forget the mess….

  3. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce October 16, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Lead by example Start by working de land!

  4. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed October 16, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    bring ideas….we all know we need to ….

  5. Dan Vaughn
    Dan Vaughn October 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Ppl have to understand the buck starts wid de govt at port of entries with the high taxes.Alsooo teach the university grads how to plant food plus the youngster in jail put them on a work program and let them know and understand that u get money by working hard for it

  6. Dan Vaughn
    Dan Vaughn October 16, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    How about honouring these portfolios that sounded so genuine.We r on a standstill

  7. Angela Gray
    Angela Gray October 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    This has got nothing to do with Hurricane Matthew. Never, and I repeat never, have I gone to the supermarket and actually found 100% of what was on my shopping list, esp fruit and veg.

  8. Bajan Sebastian
    Bajan Sebastian October 16, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    100% Bajan products can’t get no better than that,if you can pull that off then I tell you should work

  9. Bajan Sebastian
    Bajan Sebastian October 16, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Manufacturing a lot more locally grown can make a big difference for the struggling Economy,especially that sugar Industry an many other things, if we can feed ourselves locally we can feed others internationally,just missing a few more important details understand careful research studies and testing of course

  10. Bajan Sebastian
    Bajan Sebastian October 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Some body have the answers we’re all intelligent an educated in our own ways, take nothing are no one for granted you never know what a person is capable of….

  11. Bajan Sebastian
    Bajan Sebastian October 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    If we don’t put our differences aside an sit to create new technology in every aspect of living, for all greater good of humanity you my friend is the problem not the solution,we can sit an judge each other all day an never accomplish nothing an never create nothing new for our country are other countries like us, make me ask my self is this a people an country worth fighting for??

  12. Sue Rose
    Sue Rose October 16, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    When are the laws for crop theft be updated, when will we stop turning farm land in to housing, our prime agriculture areas are currently no being supplied water. empty words my man empty words

  13. Alex Alleyne October 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Lot more in selling land and building houses. Lot of land move from zone one to zone “build”.

  14. Angela Maria
    Angela Maria October 16, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Reduce imports how? By growing food… Nice… In a water scarce country where the government building (we won’t hold our breathes) a desalination plant to provide water to hotels and restaurants and shopping centres, but not to provide water to farms. Not so nice….

  15. Lauraine Clarke
    Lauraine Clarke October 16, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    You had that ministry for so many years, and you just would not do a thing with it. You do not know how to operated your ministry, I really really would like to know why you are getting a salary . Mr Minister I think you should just throw in your belt.

  16. Marva Lashley-Todd
    Marva Lashley-Todd October 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    start giving out seedlings so people can plan their own foods.

  17. Edmund Harrison
    Edmund Harrison October 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    So the horse done run out de Pen and now you looking to catch it…..lots of luck to you.

  18. Pauline Lowe
    Pauline Lowe October 17, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Reduce your big wigs pay packs make them do some actual work and give de people water

  19. Charles Atkins
    Charles Atkins October 17, 2016 at 1:09 am

    So tell me when you’re going to distribute the thousands of acres not currently in production and create an agricultural funding agency (bank).

  20. Caroline Boxill
    Caroline Boxill October 17, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Then what will we do . Eat grass and sheep feed . Because all we have is mainly houses and nuff grass . And those houses are nothing like the one in Hansel and Gretel

  21. jrsmith October 17, 2016 at 5:38 am

    A group of trustworthy honest bajans will have to get together form a company put up the financing, do what have to be done , keep politicians and politics far, far away from the company and do something good for our island if us local bajans don’t we are doom..,,,,,
    We must stop expecting politicians to do anything knowing the key an ulterior motive in they favour…
    We will have a new young generation turning to crime struggling for survival,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    For us all we are gradually loosing our way of life through heavy crime , politics and the rule of law….

  22. Maaz A Love
    Maaz A Love October 17, 2016 at 7:39 am
  23. chris hill October 17, 2016 at 7:42 am

    wow hearing this is great. maybe now he would grant me that meeting about the local offshore crab.

  24. Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan
    Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan October 17, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Wow! I am I reading right, “Barbados must reduce food bill”. You mean to tell me that after all these years of importing food year round, with half of it having to be dumped due to spoilage, that these jokers now realized that we import too much food that can be produced here! No wonder that Barbados is at its lowest ebb and sinking faster than if it was in quicksand! We have destroyed our agriculture to put money in the pockets of a select few by importing everything, while the local farmers have to scrape the barrel to try and feed their families and the poor.

  25. F. A. Rudder October 17, 2016 at 9:48 am

    At last we have a minister who calls, “a spade a spade”. The aunts do do think this way in their food storage and food processing maybe we can learn from them in the year 2016 AD.

  26. seagul October 17, 2016 at 10:01 am

    These words are full of betrayal and it runs deep. This minister is the spade and the elephant.

  27. seagul October 17, 2016 at 10:19 am

    The corporations runs the crooked politicians. Imagine someone telling us to step up to a plate, and he has over seven cars in his possession.

  28. Alana B October 17, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Reduce food imports? Great idea! However, Barbados imports food that cost the consumer less than what is produced on the island. Have a look at all the supermarkets, Nestle products, Stag, Carib, Fruta, Swiss, Bermudez and Flavorite, all products made in Trinidad and Tobago.

    There are also imbalances in trade that should be addressed. Take a look on the supermarket shelves in Trinidad and Tobago. Tiger malt in a little corner, Pinehill milk and juices and very small quantities of Banks beer. No Plus, no BICO icecream….etc

    Time has come for the people who hold the reins of power to wake up and demand equity in trade.

  29. Alana B October 17, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Apologies *reigns and not reins

  30. seagul October 17, 2016 at 11:43 am

    B’dos can hardly cause an influence in little St. Vinci, how can we address ‘imbalances’ in a large twin state. We need to wake up.

  31. Alana B October 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    If B’dos do not import as they do from TnT then there would be some repercussions within that twin island. I listened to a forum and it was said that Barbados is the largest importer of TnT products in the Caribbean. There is a new PM in TnT and elections are coming in Bim. Use the political platform to get the attention of the politicians. The people of Barbados have the power. Let us let our voices be heard!

  32. seagul October 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    A little Britain with just a quarter million people with power, huh. With all our national entities such as the B’dos National bank–own by Trinidad–and Banks breweries also foreign own, we have no choice but to import from the twin state. WAKE UP.

  33. jrsmith October 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    As I always say Barbados is there for the taking but not by bajans , we have people who seems to be of the making to destroy our Barbados , I don’t know what is more dangerous , to the bajan people , the guns or the politicians…..

  34. BoboTheClown October 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Why don’t the Government come up with some incentives to farmers that would make them want to plant more vegetables and root crops knowing that they would be paid for their products. Talk is cheap but with all the land in Barbados that once produce acres and acres of sugar cane and is now grass or Myamole Trees ,incentives would encourage home grow food.

  35. Dee October 18, 2016 at 5:16 am

    We have been going round and round on this topic forever. All we need to do is to put some items or variety of items on a restricted list . I mean why do we need 10 different brands of ketchup or toilet paper?

  36. Tony Waterman October 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    “Barbados must step up to the plate and reduce its dependency on food imports, says Agriculture Minister Dr David Estwick.”

    It never ceases to amaze me, how these Politicians/Piblic Figures Alwats seem to tell uslesser people, what we already know, Mr. Minister!!!Anyone who follows barbados, and have a Love for the Country Barbados already knows that.
    What you SHOULD be doing, is telling us Lesser Mortals, how we will achieve this Dependency on Food Imports. Actually!!! may i suggest some way of getting some of that wasted ARABLE Land, be some how ORDERED back into Food Production ?? instead of Leasing it out to That Canadian Guy for a Solar Farm.

    @F. A. Rudder!!!! We dont need him or anyone else to Call a Spade a Spade, we need to have the Spades in the Ground, turning up the Soil.

    @jrsmith!!!! “BOTH”

    @BoboTheClown!!!! When i hear people talking about Incentives, usually they think in terms of some type of Financial Subsidy, which obviouly the Government can’t afford, but if the have the BAS Computerise the Operations of the Farmers so that they(BAS) knows what is planted, and when they will be ready for Market, that it will make it easy for the Government NOT to issue Import certificates for those Products until the Local Crops are going to be Exhausted. and being Computerised should make it easy to forecast when that would occour.

    Our Government has to be the Lobbyist for the People and NOT for the Corporations.


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