Extreme food scarcity and poverty in various parts of the world are a concern to Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones.
Jones voiced this concern earlier today while delivering the feature address at the Environmental Sustainability Project 2012, which is being sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Jamestown.
Speaking at the headquarters of the National Conservation Commission at Codrington, St. Michael, he said: “Any initiative to encourage not only the protection of the environment, but to provide more for people to eat is absolutely important. In Barbados, in what are referred to as the war years, this country had to feed itself. That is known.
“The leaders of the country then, took the decision that not only sugar cane was to be produced, but food had to be produced as well. So we planted corn and yams, and whatever we can grow in Barbados was grown. The issue was making a definitive determination that this country would feed itself. That was a time of extreme adversity in the world.”
Jones pointed out that during World War 11 the Government “enjoyed the cooperation of those who owned lands, the cooperation of small farmers and peasant farmers”.
He argued that the effort must be redoubled to ensure that Barbados is able to provide food for its people in greater abundance.
“Total earth is facing some severe challenges. There is famine and there is drought. In the US and Canada this year there has been a major drought and a lot of the food of the world is still produced in North America even though Brazil, Australia and China are large producers of food. But the drought devastated many of the main staples of the world. If there is a major drop in production, it means that there will be a major rise in price,” Jones explained.
He stressed that everyone has to become part of the project of feeding people. He recalled that as a boy he awoke as early as 5:30 a.m. to go into the “ground” with my siblings and father to plant banana, plantain and figs among other crops.
Jones said: “I am not saying to anyone that it was easy work, but it was rewarding work.