Govt to launch food planting project

The Ministry of Agriculture will this year launch a food planting programme, which it hopes will help cut the island’s $500 million food import bill.

However, in order for the project to be impactful, it will need the participation of virtually every Barbadian with access to sufficient land to grow crops.

“The ministry is very set on rolling out a food planting initiative, where we are encouraging anyone who has access to land to plant crops around their homes, their communities and the land we have lying idle around the island,” Chief Agricultural Officer Lennox Chandler said at a ceremony at which the government of Canada donated to the ministry, a mechanical planter and vacuum seeder, as well as a USB data micro station logger to monitor microclimates.

From left, Agronomist Colin Maynard; PROPEL Project Facilitator for Barbados Micah Gittens (in background); Senior Director, Canadian High Commission Benoit-Pierre Laramee; Chief Agricultural Officer Lennox Chandler; and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Leslie Brereton, checking out the planter donated by the Canadian government under its PROPEL agricultural initiative in the Caribbean.

Chandler said the country’s food sovereignty was important because Barbadians needed “to be in control of what they eat, in terms of how it is grown, what is used to produce it and we should be able at any point in time to feed ourselves from within the four corners of this island in case some catastrophe occurs that prevents us from gaining access to food from our usual external sources”.

The donation was made through Canada’s Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) programme, which is currently under way in Barbados, as well as Dominica, Guyana and St Lucia.   

The equipment will be used in a pilot project aimed at growing Irish potatoes.

“We were planning to plant last year but ran into some challenges, so we hope to get started this year. This is not the first attempt at growing these potatoes here, but the varieties we are using now will be more amenable to our environmental conditions. So we hope to have a better result this time,” Chandler explained, adding that the mechanical planter would remove “some of the drudgery” associated with the planting process here, “which will ultimately reduce labour costs and hopefully result in lower prices for the commodities produced”.

Meantime, Senior Director at the Canadian High Commission Benoit-Pierre Laramée said the project would target small farmers, particularly women.

“We hope that this equipment will help producers to increase their productivity and the quality of their products,” Laramée added.

24 Responses to Govt to launch food planting project

  1. Alex Alleyne January 5, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Where is the” agricultural land” ?????. In BIM every inch is covered with concrete or wild grass just waiting to be sold then to be covered with concrete. Then ,What is left is for “weed”.

  2. Greengiant January 5, 2018 at 7:01 am

    @Alex Alleyne: There’s still adequate land to feed this nation, but money has to be invested in improving our planting methods to reduce cost, and increase profitability.

    The two leading political parties, the B C C I, and the commercial banking fraternity has failed this nation with their lack of investment in this area. The D L P, and B L P administrations have failed to bring attractive legislation for the agricultural sector, while the banking and business communities have seen the foreign purchase, and local sales as a more profitable option. This has only served to increase our foreign exchange demand in the long term.

    So actually both parties have failed the leadership test.

  3. Gillian Skeete
    Gillian Skeete January 5, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Should have been done years ago! So our own people could not create a seed planting machine?? Looks simple looking. Nice it was donated by Canada but really nobody from here could have made built this??? Too late with this bs from this government…

  4. Tony Webster January 5, 2018 at 10:05 am

    @Greengiant. Congrats Sir, you managed to (attempted to) cast blame everywhere, without once referring to the Relevant Authorities’ pathetic efforts to make any impression on the real monster in the room : praedial larceny.

    I saw and heard the Ch-8 vide- clip of the C.Ag.Officer saying how great an idea this machine was: he seemed as enthused as if he was burying his pet dog.

    • jennifer January 5, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      Invest in some electric fence and cameras too.

  5. January 5, 2018 at 10:28 am

    We get by way of Charity a couple a piece of.secondhand.machinery.
    Immediately the know nothings chime in with an instantaneous
    Idiocy, thus replacing 500,000,000 dollars worth of imports.
    Oh WTF!!!
    Get real for Gods sake.
    The road to Hell already been trod, by these same
    Yuh wanna suffer two times.
    Just get rid of these intallectual , THIEVES ,who run us into ground already.
    Stop whipping a Dead horse.
    Couple a Charity machines ent gonna do nuffin

    • jennifer January 5, 2018 at 11:22 am

      lol – all the time so.

  6. seagul January 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Water Saving Low cost Greenhouse Farming:- In greenhouses, gardening in raised beds is more productive.
    There are hardly any crops in Barbados that can generate its own seeds. That is because our farmers have been buying their seeds from an imported source and they have been genetically modified………
    Food Crisis by Ty Ajani

  7. seagul January 5, 2018 at 11:42 am
    The Swiss Caribbean Exchange Letter
    Food Crisis…

  8. jennifer January 5, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Our farmers need to accumulate and store their seeds – this should be part of farming business. Monsanto is taking over with the generation of GM seeds. I recently heard an ad on the radio saying that GMO food can give your dog cancer. What to say about people.

  9. Jus me January 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Oh man!!
    Oh God!
    Mr Lennox sah.
    Where you been this las 10 year gone.

    IN CASE !!!??? A Catastrophe happen!!

    WTF yuh feel Mr F Stuart qualify as!!???

  10. seagul January 5, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    The worst part is that even if you were a farmer using natural techniques, the pollen from the plants of your neighbor who is using genetically modifies seeds, will modify the seeds of your crops on pollination. If GMO food can kill animals, well we need to get back–to—life as the root song goes.

  11. Alex Alleyne January 5, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    The equipment will be use in a pilot project aimed at growing “Irish patatoes”.
    Barbados people being high on the world diabetes list, I do hope most of the crop is for EXPORT just as they do with the sugar.

  12. Belfast January 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Sir Cow is on record saying that all the food required in Barbados could be grown in greenhouses.
    Over the years we have seen the unfair closure of a greenhouse farm in St Lucy operated by an Australian, and the closure of another in Strong Hope St Thomas.
    Today our productive greenhouses and kitchen gardens are massive warehouses, one such in an IDC industrial estate growing all the stuff we once produced in Barbados, in tins from Trinidad.

  13. Helicopter(8P) January 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    From the look of things guys that aparatus looks as though we can produce about 20 devices per week from a single contractor. I’ve set up a few various types at Grahme Hall while taking an agro business course. I kind of prefer the attatchments that can be attatched to light tractors or even lawn tractors. This model seems to be for a small plot or kitchen garden enthusiest!

    • TOMMY A January 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      helicopter who and what the hell are you?an army vet,work for boeing.lives either in usa or Canada,now you were at grahme hall on a agri course.i cant remember this course and seeing a larger scale of this machinery.i wonder if you were at groves when we did the experiment with the nylon and 151 that produce more sugar than those soft sweet banana canes. for every topic that comes up ,somehow you were involve in.hope you are not too old and can pass on some of that knowelge.some topic you seems to be a young person but being an army vet you have to be a retiree.also many a time your response don’t even fit the topic,deviates too much.if you went to V Nam ,I will ondrstand

  14. Tee White January 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Either this report is poorly written or those who are leading this intiative are confused and do not know what they are talking about.

    It is obvious that we are in a precarious situation with regard to our unsustainable food import bill and our food security. Therefore an initiative to increase local food production is urgently needed. However I don’t see why we need this Canadian machine or why we are trying to cultivate Peruvian potatoes (the potato was domesticated in Peru not Englnad or Ireland)?

    Why aren’t we focusing on cultivating crops that have historically been grown in Barbados, such as yams, edoes and sweet potatoes? Why not focus on increasing production of breadfruits which can be used for making chips just like the Peruvian potato? If we are going to solve the problem of food production in Barbados, we need to think for ourselves and come up with solutions that fit the Bajan reality rather than blindly following what foreign powers tell us.

  15. l king January 5, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Green Houses and GM seeds. No.

    Why the need for green houses on a hot island and as for GM seeds forget that i heard they can be harmful to us and in the UK not many farmers use them because most of the population refuse them. Go natural and no green house.

    • jennifer January 5, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Green houses will be necessary with this climate change and war talk.

      These crops should obviously match some of the major types of foods being brought in to make any financial difference. Build a cannery to match.

  16. Belfast January 5, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    What is the latest on the 40 acres of land at Dukes St Thomas which was donated to the UWI to form part of our food security programme?

  17. Belfast January 5, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    What is the latest on the 40 acres of Wild River Tamarind that were cultivated on prime agricultural lands in Belle?

  18. Belfast January 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    What id the latest of the 40 acres of Breadfruit trees that Ronald Jones had planned to plant.

  19. John Hunte January 5, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Most of the GMO we consume may be in processed foods and the additives. corn, potatoes papaya, rice, Soy and canola are among the main GMO crops. We do not plant a lot of any of these crops and retain our own cotton seeds (another big GMO seed type). The best thing about GMOs is that most are sterile so the modifications are not passed onto another generation. Beans maybe the main gmo we unwittingly plant and eat. Some tomatoes are also GMO but they are expensive seeds that the growers will protect in greenhouses.
    I retain my pigeon peas and a sword bean along with pumpkin and okra seeds as do a number of organic farmers.
    Shade houses suit our high humidity better than greenhouses

  20. andy g January 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    bajans don’t like anything bajan.remember we had instant yams.bajan wont eat.we had barpac,bajans criticized,yet they used the same product with a foreign brand name made by barpac for that company. that’s bajan fuh yuh.


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