A stronger linkage between agriculture and business is needed!
This view was expressed by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who said that a more businesslike approach was needed to boost the local agricultural sector.
He made these comments when representative for the Inter American Institute for Agriculture, Jean Lowrey, paid a recent visit to his Reef Road headquarters.
Along with voicing concern over the state of Barbados’ agro processing industry, the minister also pointed to the challenges faced by farmers with regards to accessing viable “market places” to ply their trade in a consistent and sustainable manner as cause for worry.
The minister told the IICA representative that there were those who had been involved in farming because it was a family tradition and they inherited land. However, he noted that farming also called for a certain level of business acumen since there were technical and productive aspects.
“They are those who are involved in farming because it’s a family tradition. They have inherited the land whether it be the whites or the plantocracy or Barbadian blacks who happen chance upon it. However, farming is not the cheapest and easiest thing to do particularly when you look at the risk element such as praedial larceny…
“You still have to find ways to maximise productivity from every acre… A guy who may love farming still has to know the fundamentals of irrigation, pesticides and that type of stuff…”
Pointing out that a far more aggressive and sustained programme of education was needed, Inniss noted that having such a programme in place would ensure that Barbadians had a greater appreciation for consuming what was locally produced, as well as preserving items.
In response, Lowrey stressed that education was a priority in order to make persons aware of the importance of the sector, as it had so much to offer.
In addition, the Minister also hinted that his Ministry was keen through the Barbados National Standards Institution to look at standards and agricultural products, including the preserves and agro-processed items, and labelling issues.