A senior official of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is promoting organic agriculture as the future of the sector here.
Programme Manager of the UNDP’s Small Grant Programme (SGP) David Bynoe Tuesday advised farmers to get involved in organic farming and permaculture if they wanted to sustain the sector.
“Permaculture and organic agriculture are two systems where we are forced to do more with less because we are not spending as much money on inputs. Most of the inputs can be created locally using locally available materials, and you can produce more within that system with less,” Bynoe told a forum at the Barbados Water Authority, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture as part of a week of activities in observance of World Food Day.
There is a growing focus on sustainable agriculture, as farmers face a number of challenges in production, including climate change.
Experts believe organic farming and permaculture – the development of sustainable and self-sufficient agricultural systems – could help alleviate some of these problems.
Bynoe said there was reluctance by some farmer to adopt the two systems because of the belief that they were not commercially viable.
However, he said this notion was not entirely correct.
“It can be a viable commercial option. What we need to do is make sure we have our practices right, we need to ensure we have the correct certification system, and SGP has worked to rectify some of these problems,” the UNDP official assured the gathering.
He said a national certification system had already been initiated, and up to eight international inspectors had been trained.
“We now have a national logo for the organic producers association, and we already have the minimum standard for organic production and we’re looking to implement that first locally,” he said.
Bynoe said permaculture and organic agriculture provided the ideal opportunity to change the perception of agriculture, making reference to an international panel on agricultural science that had identified organic agriculture as the future of the sector, because it was “the most climate resilient form of production and the most sustainable production system”.