Agriculture executive, James Paul, rebutted suggestions that
Barbadians should cultivate lands in Guyana to supplement this
island’s production and ensure Bajans feed themselves.
“We cannot assume that it is easy just to go to Guyana,
or Barbadian farmers going to Guyana and make a living. It
is just not something that is practical,” Paul told Barbados
TODAY in an invited comment.
The President of the Barbados Agricultural Society was
responding to a report in the January 9 Barbados TODAY
edition in which UWI senior lecturer in political science,
Dr George Belle, stated that Barbados does not have enough
land to feed a growing population already exceeding a quarter
of a million, and the way forward is to have the island’s farmers
cultivate lands in Guyana for Barbadians.
“That is an idea which is not practical . . . . At the end of
the day it is growing in another country and it does not belong
to Barbados,” Paul said earlier today.
“All I’m saying is the beneficiaries of such commercial
undertaking will not be Barbados, it will be Guyana. And you
still have to find the foreign
exchange in order to basically
get the crops over here.”
The Member of Parliament
for St Michael-West Central,
continued, “That is not helping
Barbados. What will help
Barbados is if we were able to
produce the commodity here,
provide employment to our
people, maintain our lands in
the best possible condition.
It would have an impact
in providing more healthy
nutrition for people in this
Further, he said there
are challenges in relocating
Barbadian farmers to suitable
lands in Guyana.
“I guess for someone who is not integrally involved in the
technical challenges when it comes to agriculture, it might seem
like a simple solution to go to Guyana and cultivate. But one of
the issues that you have to face, even in Guyana, is that not all
the soils in Guyana are suitable for cultivation.”
He said that the best lands for agriculture in Guyana are
already under cultivation, and the idea of Barbadians going
there for farming was attempted before, “but when they got
down there, it is not what we imagine it to be, and that is one
of the challenges”.
He contended that Barbados will be better off managing and
working its land properly.
“In this regard we have a lot of land in this country which is
just lying fallow, and which needs to be cultivated.
“I know this may sound hard to believe, Barbados has
enough land to provide itself with certain crops, 100 percent.
And certain commodities that we currently import, that we do
not need to import we can actually grow in Barbados.”
Paul pointed out agriculture should not be looked at as
a single activity, but one that generates spinoffs into other
production and services.
“We are looking to seek employment opportunities for
Barbadians living here in agriculture – and the employment
opportunities are there,” he said, and added, “We seem to
think sometimes that the only beneficiaries of agriculture are
the people who are directly employed, but what we don’t seem
to understand is that there are a whole set of services which
are vital to agricultural operations in which people are also
employed. The multiplier effect on the economy is that much
greater when doing this in your own domestic location.”
He argued that instead of looking afar for Barbados’ food
supply, there is homework to be done to maximise
“I think at this point in time therefore, it is important to try
first of all to put the current lands that we have lying idle
He said another important consideration for Barbados is
identifying other crops, currently imported, that we can grow
in this country.
“We have land space that is available that can actually use
for the cultivation of crops. That cultivation in itself would
provide employment to Barbadians and actually help to feed
Barbadians better.” (GA)