Barbados could have a bumper production of
poultry and pork for Christmas, and while the Barbados
Agricultural Society is confident that, barring any
environmental phenomenon, grown provisions will be
just as plentiful, its chief spokesman says more can be
accomplished if business and farms share interests.
CEO James Paul told Barbados TODAY in a long
distance call this afternoon that at the moment all lights
were go, heading towards what is traditionally a busy
Christmas period for farmers.
“A lot is already geared towards the production
schedules, and I don’t see any problems. The farmers are
indicating that for the produce like pork and poultry that
just like last year there should be a bumper season. In fact
there should be an overabundance, but what we have to
look at is how Government will facilitate to ensure that
there is more cooperation by the businesses, etcetera, at
this time,” he stated.
As expected, Paul said, there were crops that would
be sensitive to the weather conditions and he only saw a
problem if there was unexpected rains or heat.
“We have always insisted that the farmers need greater
support, and we would like to see the formation of
partnerships that will help the farmers on a timely basis,”
One of the things, he reiterated the BAS was doing was
increased training of the farmers. But the training could
only work, he insisted, with a keen interest by consumers,
including businesses, to indicate if particular programmes
were working or needed to be further streamlined to
deliver what was needed.
He pointed to SuperCentre as an indication of the kind
of business/farmer relationship that was productive.
“They have been working with us, and one of the main
areas was with carrots; but I think we have reached the
point now where even that needs to be broadened. We
worked in concert with Dr Francis Chandler to ensure
they got the kind of consistency they needed to be able to
supply their chain, and I think that now needs to be higher;
and there are other products that I think we can work
with the business sector to develop.”
Part of the challenge, Paul stated, was that there were
some “private interests” who were not in the least
interested in buying local because it benefited their end of
the business to import. The BAS chief argued though that
there were ways in which those importers could work
with local farmers and still make just as much as they did
otherwise. Referring to is as a “back door link”, Paul said
what was needed was for processors and supermarkets all
to take an interest in farms, specifically.
Rather than the one-man operation of some small
farms, he noted that with companies and businesses
actually having an interest in the farms, both would benefit
and it would help ease both the issues of supply some
businesses complained of and help the farmers improve
and increase their production.