A national tractor scheme is expected to be rolled out in Barbados in January next year, providing an additional 115 new jobs in the agricultural sector and bring in some $9.2 million from fresh fruit crop production.
The revelation from Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, Andrew Skeete, during a press conference called by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick to update the country of developments within his ministry.
Skeete said food crop production, especially in the small and medium size farms, was projected to increase by 4.6 million pounds of fresh vegetables and root crops at an estimated value of $9.2 million. He disclosed that the new jobs should contribute a further $1.6 million to the local economy.
The BADMC boss announced that the central tractor facility was to be constructed in St. George and that negotiations with the land owner were showing positive signs.
“We have determined that we are going to start with a six unit fleet of various sizes and anxillary equipment essentially of the primary type; harrowing, furrowing, ploughing. This operation we expect to house in St. George. We have already had some discussions with the owners of the property, and the indications are positive and we hope to move that location,” added the CEO.
Skeete said discussions have also been held with 15 private operators who were willing to take part in the venture. He said the officers who would be hired to plan and implement the project, would be required to have significant agricultural technical knowledge and they would be trained as part of the build up to the start of the scheme.
He noted that the tractor operators would also be trained and some persons from the Technical and Vocational Training Board were likely to be hired.