A Centre For Food Security and Entrepreneuship will be inaugurated in Barbados on Monday.
Chairman of the Government-appointed National Agricultural Commission, Dr Chelston Brathwaite, informed a news conference this afternoon at the Ministry of Agriculture, that this project formed part of a 10-year National Agricultural Plan for Barbados, which would involve public-private sector partnerships, including the University of the West Indies.
Brathwaite said the plan sought to promote a partnership between the Government, the private sector, the university, farmers, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and Barbados Community College.
“This partnership is the fundamental base of what we are producing for the future. That partnership provides specific roles for the partners,” he added.
As part of this partnership, the National Agricultural Commission Chairman said that on Monday, the Government would initiative in collaboration with the UWI, the Centre for National Food Security and Entrepreneurship.
Brathwaite announced that a Barbadian business person had donated a significant piece of land to the university to set up the centre at the UWI on Monday. He said the inauguration ceremony would take place at Dukes Plantation in St. Thomas.
He noted that the centre would train farmers and provide the technical expertise necessary to move forward with a Food and Nutrition Plan for this country. The commission chairman suggested that some institutional restructuring would have to take place, such as the establishment of a Ministry of Food and Nutrition Security.
He said he believed such a ministry was required because this country had not been focusing on food over the years as a strategic priority. Brathwaite also pointed out that in 2011, this island’s food import bill stood at $653 million, some $162 million of which comprised processed foods; $29 million in fish, $27 million in fresh vegetables and $10 million in lamb. (EJ)