This year’s Agrofest is being described as a successful undertaking.
Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, told Barbados TODAY in a telephone interview this morning that, based on the unofficial numbers attending the three-day event last weekend at Queen’s Park, he was satisfied it was well executed.
Paul said that while this year’s edition of Agrofest was themed Inclusive Agriculture, Strengthening Linkages, Creating Synergies, the support from the public and stakeholders showed that Barbadians had recognized the importance of the policies the BAS had continually advocated to ensure the viability of the sector.
“It just finished yesterday and we still have to do our review and look at what really happened. But I am happy that every thing went to plan. We opened on schedule, we had the physical infrastructure in place, and even better than in previous years.
“Overall though, I think that the patrons had a wonderful experience. They were willing to listen to the messages, and maybe it matched last year’s,” the BAS chief said.
There were an estimated 300 stalls promoting local products and services, and the best of livestock, birds, fish and plants bred on the island.
Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and Lady Belgrave, Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy, Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick and Minister of Housing Denis Kellman were among top Government officials visiting Agrofest 2015.
During his tour of the exhibition, Sealy indicated he was impressed with the growth of the showcase which he said had potential and created opportunities for Barbadians.
“Agrofest is getting bigger and bigger –– just look around. We are on to something good here, and we want that to continue. Look at what the schoolchildren are doing.
“Look at what the young entrepreneurs in the sector are doing. We didn’t even talk about the horticulturist,
which is another element of agriculture that has tremendous potential . . . ,” Sealy remarked.
Stephen Proverbs, science department head at the St George Secondary School, who spearheaded an exhibition titled Making Agriculture More Palatable, said people were impressed with the project which looked at the linkage between recycling and agriculture, and shipping out pallets for agriculture purposes.
“This would be our fourth consecutive year, and for sure we have had a number of business opportunities because the products we have had on display from the recycled pallets are actually quite marketable. We have had a very good response and a number of persons have made commitments towards purchasing them,” Proverbs said.
Ashley Phillips, owner of Nature Mix Nurseries, was pleased with the business opportunities she was presented with, this being her first year at Agrofest.
“We definitely will be coming back. But I would like it to be advertised a little bit more, because a lot of people didn’t know that Agrofest was coming [last] weekend. People only realized it was Agrofest after schoolchildren came,” the young entrepreneur commented.
Once again, farmer Ian Branch won the Best Ewe On Show. Very proud of his accomplishment, he boasted to Barbados TODAY that this was the fourth consecutive year he had won the title.
“It is always a chat among the farmers, and winning the awards is for bragging rights. As long as you are the champion, people will come to you because everybody wants to get the breed that you have; but I am not one for exporting livestock.
“I don’t have a problem with exporting the semen, but I am not one for exporting our Blackbelly sheep, because it belongs to us,” Branch pointed out.