Dairy farmers complain they have been left holding the bag

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul is imploring dairy farmers, who invested $1.1 million last year in the import of heifers to bolster the dairy industry, to hold strain on Government’s promised loan rebate.

Last October the BAS secured financing from RBC Royal Bank on behalf of the six farmers for the importation of 194 cows from the United States.

The farmers, who were required to deposit 20 per cent of the loan sum, were also given guarantees from the Ministry of Agriculture that they would earn rebates on the purchase of the cattle.

However, upset farmers have told Barbados TODAY that eight months later they were yet to receive one cent of the promised rebate, with no visible evidence to date to suggest that Government intends to keep its promise to them.

“We have done what was required of us to push local milk production, we have kept our part of the bargain and it is only fair that Government gives us what was promised or at least shows us some respect by telling us what is going on,” one irate farmer said.

In response, Paul, the Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central, said Government simply did not have the funds to honour its commitment to the dairy farmers at this time. However, he assured that the Freundel Stuart administration was in no way shirking its responsibility to them.

“The Government has had some cash problems and what we have arranged is that the rebate would be repaid over a period of time. When we receive the rebate, we would notify the farmers that their balances have been adjusted by the amount paid.

“It is not going to happen instantly. The rebate would be paid over a period of time. Let me emphasize that it would not all be repaid at once but as we receive it, they would get it,” he added.

While stating that he understood the anxiety of the farmers, Paul reminded them that had it not been for the facilitation of the BAS, “they would not have gotten the loan in the first place”.

“The money that was spent is just 20 per cent of what cows cost. All of them take out the loans but the capital that came for the financing of cows came from Government, so you can work the numbers from there. If they went to the bank as individuals they would not have gotten the loan to purchase the cows they have. So basically we facilitated,” Paul told Barbados TODAY.

The BAS executive acknowledged that Government should have done a better job on communicating the delays to the parties involved, but contended that there were teething problems with the pilot project.

“We understand that farmers are anxious, I wouldn’t use the word impatient but we needed to report to them as to what is happening. I do want to say that this is the first in a series of programmes geared at trying to build capacity in the agricultural sector and right now the dairy farmers are the first to benefit from it and we anticipate that other farmers would be able to benefit from this special facility,” Paul stressed.

11 Responses to Dairy farmers complain they have been left holding the bag

  1. Santini More
    Santini More July 11, 2017 at 5:40 am

    When Chris Sinckler reinstated the 10% pay to MPs, complete with back pay, he did it stating that the economy was recovering and so he could afford to do it. So how is it there is money for non-productive MPs, but no money for farmers in the productive sector?

  2. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe July 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

    No money but MP’s got their pay restored with back pay and farmers have to wait — and you represent them. Wanna appear to be in great hands – smh

  3. Sonia Seale
    Sonia Seale July 11, 2017 at 6:48 am

    They took out the loans because they were given a guarantee by the government that the rebate would be given. Do you think that if they were not given that guarantee that they would have taken out the loan? The BAS executive is always saying that the government should do this and the government should do that. Does he even realize that he is part of the government?. He through the BAS facilitated the loan for the farmers, why is he now saying that the government should have informed the farmers that there is/ was no money. It was his role to help them become indebted to the bank but it is now the government’s role to inform them of the broken promises and false guarantees. I will ask again, is he not part of the government? If he knows what the problem was , why did he not communicate that with the farmers?, or are they operating on the premise of – don’t ask, don’t tell- or don’t volunteer information unless it is asked for. If the dairy farmers were treated so badly, I doubt that the other farmers would want to suffer a similar fate.” There were teething problems with the pilot project”. I don’t think these are teething problems, I think these are ” money ” problems. What do you think?

    • Santini More
      Santini More July 11, 2017 at 9:00 am

      After 9 years James Paul still sounds as if he is a member of the opposition and not a member of Government…Not to worry, soon he will either be unemployed or truly a member of the opposition…lol

    • Eddy Murray
      Eddy Murray July 11, 2017 at 9:35 am

      This is J. Paul

  4. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner July 11, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Got to love how things operate in Barbados,government got no money to compensate these farmers but got money for everything else.

    • Ali Baba
      Ali Baba July 11, 2017 at 11:48 am

      yea rawle, 750 thou, mercedes b, 142 mil in liat, 1.5 bil dismantel, 22 bil in taxing ya to death, blown ta bits well …… can go on

  5. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade July 11, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Please what paul do he do a lot of talk look people cannot get ground food but he talk if i was the farmer i would pack up and say no moor
    Look to me they have money wait till election call

  6. Helicopter(8P) July 11, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Fresh dairy is a plus for any country’s daily consumption. It was a great way of enhancing the local cattle stock. We would wish that all goes well in the coming months and the parties involved be successful in having the financial and legal matters all resolved with a positive outcome!

  7. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba July 11, 2017 at 11:55 am


  8. Alex Alleyne July 11, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Go get the “Commie” man, he like to put his mouth in everything.


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