Watson: Cut food import bill

Independent Senator John Watson wants Government to focus on reducing the island’s $500 million food import bill, as it presses ahead with its plans for offshore oil exploration.

Speaking Wednesday during debate on the Offshore Petroleum (Amendment) 2017, Watson noted that oil and food accounted for the bulk of Barbados’ imports, and according to him, it should be easier to cut food imports.

“One of the things about small countries like ours is that we have to be really efficient and effective, so that when we spend a dollar, we must get the best return. And I believe that if we look at the two areas of imports, oil imports and agriculture, I believe that we should make a concerted effort at this time to reduce our food bill, even along with the work towards getting the offshore drilling going.

“I say that Madam President because it is far easier to reduce our food bill than to get our drilling operation going. And for that reason I want to suggest that we look at really doing something about our waste land . . . . And if it is necessary to take over lands that are idle and make sure that those owners of that land are properly compensated, not necessarily in terms of purchasing the land, but the use of the land,” Watson said.

He also recommended the introduction of programmes to encourage young people to invest in agriculture.

“You do not need a whole plantation. Young people can, in a half acre of land or an acre of land, produce substantial crops that would reduce our food bill. And I believe, Madame President, that that is an area that should be looked at very seriously.

“We already have the land and we already have the manpower. I believe that there are enough young people in Barbados now who could be producing much food,” Watson said. 

6 Responses to Watson: Cut food import bill

  1. Alex Alleyne August 3, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Start by slashing the DODDS food bill.

  2. Hermine Alleyne August 3, 2017 at 8:49 am

    The first place to slash is all the heads of departments that is pass retirement age ,cut some of the statuary boards, deal with all those on full paid leave, we don’t need two or more PS Corporations,, that is where the big drain is.

  3. Belfast August 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    We have no intentions of slashing our food import bill, thanks to the Minister of Agriculture on one hand and the Minister of Trade and commerce on the other. A leading food importer, occupying a government building in one of the Industrial Estates, has just had its warehouse storage space increased by 100% to deal with its expanding business.
    Presumably, the IDC /Barbados Government/ Barbados taxpayer has paid for this warehouse extension.
    Another Wild River Tamarind project

  4. fedup August 3, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Start wid CostULess. Two of dee biggest investors right under we noses.

  5. Darson August 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Missing the Point : how do we cut import bill and service a growing tourist industry : have you ever stop and think about the quantity of the imports that service this industry ;
    say 100.000.000 persons 3 meals and beverages a Day average days 6 per person stay .( Just a Rough Guess)
    we do not produce enough food and all the goods needed to service our own need much less that industry that can vary all the way from average to luxury .think fine wines and spirits .
    we need to start thinking outside the box.
    that is why i support the increase TAX and i hope we stop and thin things through ;
    just my thoughts .

  6. Darson August 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Dodds food bill should be fully local and them some leave over, then help with the Hospital and School Meals ,


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