Chief Agricultural Officer Lennox Chandler has taken an apparent dig at the authorities for failing to support efforts by his department to combat the effects of climate change on the agriculture sector.
Addressing a forum for farmers at the Barbados Water Authority Tuesday, Chandler suggested that there were those who gave lip service to the issue but backed out when action was needed.
He complained that since taking up the post he has moved to establish a climate change unit within the ministry to focus on the impact of changing weather patterns on agriculture.
However, without naming anyone, he said he was unable to get the required resources.
“We don’t have a home, there’s no building, there’s no office space; we don’t have any resources. You hear people say that ‘this is critical, this is essential’, all sorts of things, but when you go to them and say, ‘hey these are the resources that we need to do the things that we need’, then a contrary tune is being played,” Chandler told the forum, organized the Ministry of Agriculture as part of a week of activities to mark World Food Day.
The top agriculture official also warned that climate change could no longer be ignored and swift action needed to be taken to mitigate its impact, which he said was already being felt in Barbados and the rest of the world.
“The fact of the matter is that agriculture globally is being impacted by the changing climate. There are droughts all over the world, flooding… new pests and diseases in places that we never saw them before. So we know that something is going on.
“And I for one, I don’t want to sit idly by and wait and pray, because people think as long as you do some praying everything will be fine, but I think it goes beyond that. But we cannot bury our heads in the sand, we have to do something because things will not return to a state of normalcy,” he stated.
Chandler added that systems must be put in place to challenge those who were “shouting from the roof tops that there is no change in climate” and that scientists were simply trying to make themselves look good by promoting climate change.
“If we continue with that foolishness and that nonsense, when we are really impacted severely and seriously, then I’m afraid it’s going to be too late,” he said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations observed World Food Day under the theme, The Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture Must Too.