The theme for the Barbados Orchid Society Exhibition this year is Orchids cahn dun, and Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick wants that to be more than just a refrain.
He said last night that he envisioned Barbados’ production of the flowers becoming the hallmark of the horticulture industry and locally bred orchids being as much a feature of the Barbadian landscape as is the Barbados Black Belly Sheep.
Speaking at the launch of the exhibition at Balls Plantation, he said he wanted to see Barbados join the major foreign producers and exporters of orchids.
“In this regard, my Ministry, having witnessed the growth and development of orchid production in Barbados, will continue to source and evaluate some of these orchid species. We will select the best for multiplication and to further develop crosses to generate new and exciting varieties for recommendation for the local farming community and orchid enthusiast,” he said, adding that 120 varieties of imported dendrobiums and cattleyas were being evaluated at the Bullens Agricultural Station.
Dr Estwick said that with adequate resources, commercial orchid production in Barbados could be increased.
“The Ministry of Agicultulture pledges to continue to provide the necessary support in the form of incentives, including rebates on greenhouses, irrigation systems, farm security, spraying equipment and duty-free concessions on imported plant material for agricultural enterprises to ensure the viability and sustainability of the horticultural industry,” he said.
“I remain humble but resolute to achieve the revival of the agricultural sector in Barbados.”
The Agriculture Minister told members of the Barbados Orchid Society that he was heartened that in these challenging times, they were able to once again produce the exhibition “at such a high standard that can be the envy of many”.