Locals and visitors alike were out in their numbers at this weekend’s Agrofest, with one patron calling for regional marketing of the island’s main agriculture exhibition.
Beekeeper based in Grenada, Jeanette McEwen told Barbados TODAY there is also need raise the profile of the agriculture sector.
“Your advertising is low outside the island, it really should be in our local newspapers, ‘farmers and everyone you are invited to Agrofest, it’s the biggest agricultural festival in the Caribbean’ – it needs to be really emphasized,” McEwen said, adding that she learned about Agrofest from Barbadian representatives at the Caribbean Bee College in St George’s.
“The scope of the agricultural field is not being fully explored and exhibited to the public because it [the festival] is just about fruit and vegetables and cows,” she said.
The first-time visitor to the agriculture expo gave an overall assessment of “well done”, however she said she was disappointed at the limited number of booths displaying local art and craft.
“I want to see more local arts and crafts rather than imported stuff . . . I just find it’s way too much,” she said.
Meanwhile the head of Women Entrepreneurs of Barbados, Undine Whittaker, highlighted the importance of the event to the development of entrepreneurial skills of its members.
“I seek to provide opportunities to women to showcase their work, showcase their talent and seek to income generating opportunities for them; and therefore Agro fest has become one of the events in which several of the women seek to display, showcase and market their products.
“We utilise this opportunity to … ensure that Barbados sees what a wonderful product that there is, in Barbados,” Whittaker said.
Whittaker noted that the organisation’s participation since 2010 has benefitted the members “in terms of raising their profiles, helping them to recognise that they have skills”.
Patrons have been flocking to the information booth to learn more about the sector and also seek advice on pursuing household, school or farming projects.
“We’ve had a lot of patrons passing through … they have been asking questions as well, they are not just taking information,” Senior Agricultural Assistant Arlie Connolly said.
Another popular booth has been the Plant Clinic, where individuals were “prescribed” the most suitable products for their ailing vegetables.
“A number of people have been passing through the plant clinic booth, they come with a whole range of problems,” said plant Specialist Bret Taylor.
He noted that a number of householders have also showed a keen interest in cultivating crops. (KK)