Major investment

US$34 million to be pumped into Dukes, St Thomas

Construction is scheduled to start no later than June next year at Dukes, St Thomas on a US$34 million agri-business facility that will provide well over 1,500 jobs, attract major foreign investment and become the training and research hub for the entire Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudene Barriteau made the announcement at a press conference this morning at which she said the UWI-Dukes Agri-Business Development Park had the capacity to revolutionize the economies and societies of Barbados and the region.

She said 1,500 jobs were a conservative estimate for the project, which “will not only offer a diverse range of employment opportunities, but will position Barbados to become a regional hub for entrepreneurial development, educational training and cutting-edge agri-business research in a 21st century, expansive, multi-faceted complex”.

She said the project, which is expected to take about two years to complete, would also accelerate the thrust towards greater self-sustainability in food production and food security with a significant portion of the almost 30 acres of land being set aside as agricultural parcels for farming.

“In addition, the park will accommodate agro-processing and meat-curing facilities, a chocolate manufacturing and training facility, cotton processing facilities, a food standards laboratory, a sewerage plant treatment and recreational spaces,” Professor Barriteau told the gathering that included Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul and Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder.

The park is to be built on land donated to the UWI by the Edghill family, owners of Dukes Plantation. It will also include a 500-seat conference centre along with retail shops and restaurants.

The project is being funded by the Government of Barbados through its bilateral aid programme with the People’s Republic of China.

Director of the Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship (CFCE) at the Cave Hill Campus, Professor Leonard O’Garro, whose agency is spearheading the multi-million-dollar venture, said the plan also makes provision for residential accommodation, day care centre for infants, a visitors’ centre and field station facility, automatic teller machines (ATM) and open and green areas for recreation.

Today, the majority of officials present welcomed the development.

However, Paul told Barbados TODAY the jury was still out on how it would impact food production in the island.

“It will be judged according to the extent to which it is able to facilitate local food production, the extent to which local producers of food, farmers themselves are able to benefit from the existence of the facility,” he said, adding that “one has to ensure when establishing projects of this kind, they can inspire positive changes in local food production.

“The jury might be still out as to what this will do, because in terms of impacting our livestock production [and] vegetable production, I think the particular nomenclature has to be worked out . . . the extent to which it will facilitate what we currently do in agriculture is something we would be waiting to see and how they proposed to put into place, mechanisms to ensure it has the type of impact that it supposed to have,” the BAS head said.

14 Responses to Major investment

  1. Dick Tracy October 10, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Paul asleep at the wheel zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! He hasn’t done anything in his constituency for years if ever. Trash in gullies, vacant un-mowed lots breeding mosquito’s. His face only seen in St Michael at, or near election time.

  2. Kevin October 10, 2017 at 12:56 am

    Wonderful news.

  3. Tony Webster October 10, 2017 at 5:12 am

    Lawd: ease-up on all this sudden cascade of “good news” my heart might not be able to take it…and I might not live to cast a ballot. I’m 100% in support of such bold moves, but there are several dozen ways this cud go wrong, and one way to ensure it is actually properly-funded and is actually self-sustaining ; and and delivers objectives: remove/ minimise all political influences, ( including psuedo-political ones) and ensure the private sector is essentially in control and involved to the max. So far, I ent sen one entrepreneurial hand go up “to be counted”. Seems like a good case for a Trust to run it thru to completion, comprising a joint team of UWI folks, and hard-headed, visionary business-folks of the highest order. I don’t see another comparable chance on the horizon, if this is messed-up.

  4. Christopher Hill
    Christopher Hill October 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Sounds great. But will it actually be built. As I am reading it is said to contain shops and business spaces. UWI still confuse me.

    • andy g October 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      yes .shop will buy and sell at wholesale prices.the plan also has provision for residential accommodation.Hence business.think positive. not all gloom an doom

  5. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn October 10, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Why next year and not THIS year. You all smart. Next year their will be a New government. Not under this government because this government set back the university ten years behind. A lot of students DROP out of the university under this government. I find that some people DOES be silent when it comes to government. Tell us if the university was doing better under the BLP or the DLP. I Need to hear that from the university.

  6. seagul October 10, 2017 at 8:33 am

    This direction is long overdue. I was beginning to wonder if it was falling on deaf ears. Agriculture should be proudly promoted at schools etc. This is a science and we should be conscious and be more concerned with the economic and social uplifting of the nation for the greater good.
    Let’s remember word from a great educator, no race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in plowing a field as in writing a poem.
    Barbados –Food Security– May 2009.
    By Now there are hardly any crops in Barbados that can generate its own seeds…..

  7. Ann Thomas October 10, 2017 at 11:06 am

    You taking good agricultural land, that was donated to build a $34 million dollar facility. What you all thinking at all at UWI?

    That land should be producing crops all like now. No need for multimillion dollar facility. The majority of that money should be going into research, programmes and producing foods or products.

    With this type of thinking that perpetuates buildings over programmes and product, it is no wonder that UWI and this region is always playing catch up.

  8. Milli Watt October 10, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    this was in the offering for a few years now. this is recycled news. it will not start next year and this principal ought to know better than to allow her office to be used for cheap political gain SHAME! you sound like chris and the lot talking bout his phantom projects

    • andy g October 10, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      will you say sorry if it start on time. you cant be so negative all the time.regardless of what,this is the greatest news out of bim for 2017.ending the year on a high note

  9. Donild Trimp October 10, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    This is great news.

    All I am asking is that more than half of the projected jobs go to Barbadians.

    • Belfast October 10, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Check the nationality of the majority of people who work at
      the world-renowned Groves Cane Breeding Station. Do Bajans really want to work in agriculture, research or otherwise?

  10. Belfast October 10, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Centre for Food Security, Whose, Bridgetown or Beijing? Meanwhile, any chance of the Chinese and UWI converting Myomosity, wild and/or cultivated into Rice, Macaroni or Ramen?

  11. Belfast October 10, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Strange though, that the above story makes no mention of a Minister of Agriculture.


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