Time to reduce food imports

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Andrew Gittens is urging Barbadians to look inwardly to see how best they can deal with the country’s current economic climate.

He made the plea this morning while delivering the feature address at the ministry’s awards ceremony for its Grow Well! Eat Well! School Gardening and Recipe Competition.

He told officials, teachers and students that the challenging economic times Barbados was presently experiencing could create some measure of uncertainty regarding the future.  It was therefore important, he stated, that adequate amounts of food were produced locally for citizens in order to maintain their quality of life.

“This country continues to attract an exceedingly high food import bill, which averaged over $656 million in 2016.  The increasing levels of food imports are in part due to changes in consumer preferences from traditional foods such as ground provisions to a more western taste,” the permanent secretary explained.

Gittens contended that given the present financial constraints, persons must become prudent in their use of foreign exchange and the areas in which they chose to invest their resources.

“The present situation is unsustainable and action must be taken to reduce our dependence on imports by choosing, among other things, to build the local agricultural and agro-processing sectors,” he emphasized.

The permanent secretary underscored that every citizen had a duty to get involved and take personal responsibility for contributing to the country’s food and nutrition security.

The Grow Well! Eat Well! Live Well! – Right here in Bim campaign, will extend over a three-year period, and will focus on different dimensions of food security.

It is aimed at sensitizing the public to all aspects of food and nutrition security, including the importance of agriculture, proper nutrition and the adoption of healthy lifestyle practices.

32 Responses to Time to reduce food imports

  1. Francis McClean
    Francis McClean June 28, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Must find a way to stop theft. It’s hard to plant and toil, to then have it all stolen. Some folks just then say, why bother.

    • Sharon Taylor
      Sharon Taylor June 28, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Ya does see d men catching d bus early on a mornings with their goodies they never planted or paid for!

    • Francis Blackman-StJohn
      Francis Blackman-StJohn June 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Need someone to take care of the monkeys

  2. Michelle Griffith
    Michelle Griffith June 28, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Tell that too Donville Inniss he seem to have no problem with our high import bill.

  3. Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan
    Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan June 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

    This is just another case of after the horse has bolted from the barn! Nobody listens because I and others have been saying that since the 90’s! If it does comes out of the mouths of a politician or some white foreigner, the government does not want to hear or listen? This is why the country is in the mess that it is in now!

  4. Sherwin Patterson
    Sherwin Patterson June 28, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Wait you deported most of the Guyanese farm workers so who will you find to do the farm work.I really wonder

    • Anne Ince
      Anne Ince June 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Bajans. The young unemployed…imjs

    • Lola De Palma
      Lola De Palma June 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Bajans, like we use to Jersey. Remember that. Get your hands dirty.

    • Davie Etwaroo
      Davie Etwaroo June 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      The young ones already love the life on de block. ..

    • Anne Ince
      Anne Ince June 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Bajans would prefer to go to North America and be treated like slaves….why ???

    • Sonia Small
      Sonia Small June 28, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Nobody ain’t working for free Anne Ince so if the bajans go oversees and work trust that money good treated like slaves??? Why you say that the only thing i know for sure is that housing is never on a bus route you have to have friends come get you if you want to get out other than the day a bus is assigned to you and the others

  5. Anne O'Nymus June 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Knowing the facts of the strapped foreign cash situation, one wonders who gives the ‘permission’ to import p.e. coconut water in cans, coming from Thailand and Vietnam and packed cilantro, ‘proudly grown in the UK’!! All seen on the shelves of the leading local supermarket. And many more useless items that are not essential for the daily diet. Furthermore, a lot of those processed and packaged foods items that are imported, mainly lead to obesity and health problems.

  6. Jason
    Jason' UncleBen 'Parris June 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    He now turn on his hearing aid ?

  7. Tee White June 28, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    How can we reduce food imports when we don’t put no emphasis on developing agricultural production and put all we eggs in the tourism basket? The wheels coming off the model of developing Barbados as a so-called services economy and producing nuttin. When we can’t pay for these imports no more, we gun see how much services we can eat.

  8. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince June 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm


  9. Alexis Paul Castillo
    Alexis Paul Castillo June 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    In this hard economic time i think they should . The schools should start children from primary school level prepare them , with the fundamentals and at secondary level do the practical send them to Barbados community Collage further their studies . in all the aspects of gardening . From landscaping To Agriculture farming . such as Entomology . botanist , & herbalist . don`t come and give Barbadians that bogus about financial constraints when government officials short changing the public . with their tricks , Find the solution and stick with it . encourage the youth to become better women and men .
    As far as the parents is concerns get some buckets drums used cooking pot assist the children in planting work with them . if you have a lawn to hell with the lawn buy a garden fork plant food you can not eat lawn grass

  10. Alex Alleyne June 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Only thing the land is full of now is WEED for smoking. Lots of MONEY and no hard work.
    The new era in agriculture in Barbados.

  11. Fay Banfield
    Fay Banfield June 28, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    We need to plant but we also need to address crop theft urgently.

  12. Rhea K. Beckles
    Rhea K. Beckles June 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Still wondering why the prisoners stopped planting up the ground in the turning…there is alot of land that needs planting up and they are alot of prisoners just living off of the Tax payers money and eating better than us

    • Belfast June 29, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Look carefully at the land at the Turning/ Waterford, and you will see that acres and acres of government approved wild river tamarind occupying the land once worked by the prisoners. And farther down the road, there is a horse stable where the prisoners also used to work. Guess Bush and GeeGees take priority over food agriculture.

  13. Dawn-Marie Rawlins
    Dawn-Marie Rawlins June 28, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I am sorry but whose right is it to tell me what corn, carrots, steak or salmon I am to eat? I am sure that when these ministers go out to eat they do not find out first if the restaurant only cooks local produce. Which of these ministers has the right to tell me what I am to spend my money on. They are paid through my taxes I work hard for does this mean then I can tell them when they are spending my money they should only buy local as well? We have bigger issues to deal with and the question should be how did we get here?

  14. Ras June 28, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    It’s time also to reduce the number of MP’s in the house and help lower the deficit

    But wait Mia Mottley say she want to increase the number of MP’s she ain’t PM yet and looking to burden thee Taxpayers more when we want relief
    From the frying pan straight to the FIRE.

  15. Ras June 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Reduce number of MP’S first

    Mottley said reducing the size of the Cabinet was not an option, therefore in order to have effective checks and balances it was necessary to increase the number of parliamentarians.

    This should be done, she said, not by reducing the size of the constituencies, but by having voters choose constituency, as well
    as national representatives.
    Addressing a meeting of her Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in St John the Baptist Church, St James, Mottley said the current system left a lot to be desired in terms of oversight of the executive branch because of the large ratio of ministers to ordinary members.

  16. Leacock June 28, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    There needs to be a push of a “do for self” attitude. In my opinion, it’s a lack of pride and effort why Barbados doesn’t push for self sustenance. I understand not everything can be grown in Bim, however there’s no reason to be importing everything known to man when you have able-bodied people and land to produce foods. Do for self Barbados. He who feeds you, controls you. Remember that

  17. sticks and stones June 28, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    But wait Miinister all the land is being gobbled up by large monstrosities

  18. Ras Binghi Iword
    Ras Binghi Iword June 28, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Its been time for this 20years ago.
    So are you now going to start giving the land to the people to grow.
    What about looking at ways of capturing the rain water in storage for use on the land.

  19. Mark Rudder
    Mark Rudder June 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Really…wow. Someone finally realized there’s a need to plant food.

  20. Fred Blackz
    Fred Blackz June 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Lol they wait til most of the farming land get use for development n talk this sh**

  21. Samud Ali
    Samud Ali June 28, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Just talk with no realistic plan or facts. We cannot feed ourselves and support tourism at the same time

  22. Andrea Young
    Andrea Young June 28, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    30 yrs late

  23. Helicopter(8P) June 29, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Now that’s the new campaign! Mr Barrow had the first one “Buy local! Buy Bajan” !

  24. Belfast June 29, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    So what is our Minister of Agriculture saying? Did you hear the PM last week talking about Barbados still punching above its weight?
    The PM has shown more interest in flowers than in the revival of local agriculture to provide the staples and vegetables necessary to feed our nation.
    Food security in Barbados means building huge Trinidad -owned and resupplied Supermarkets.


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