Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Andrew Gittens is urging Barbadians to look inwardly to see how best they can deal with the country’s current economic climate.
He made the plea this morning while delivering the feature address at the ministry’s awards ceremony for its Grow Well! Eat Well! School Gardening and Recipe Competition.
He told officials, teachers and students that the challenging economic times Barbados was presently experiencing could create some measure of uncertainty regarding the future. It was therefore important, he stated, that adequate amounts of food were produced locally for citizens in order to maintain their quality of life.
“This country continues to attract an exceedingly high food import bill, which averaged over $656 million in 2016. The increasing levels of food imports are in part due to changes in consumer preferences from traditional foods such as ground provisions to a more western taste,” the permanent secretary explained.
Gittens contended that given the present financial constraints, persons must become prudent in their use of foreign exchange and the areas in which they chose to invest their resources.
“The present situation is unsustainable and action must be taken to reduce our dependence on imports by choosing, among other things, to build the local agricultural and agro-processing sectors,” he emphasized.
The permanent secretary underscored that every citizen had a duty to get involved and take personal responsibility for contributing to the country’s food and nutrition security.
The Grow Well! Eat Well! Live Well! – Right here in Bim campaign, will extend over a three-year period, and will focus on different dimensions of food security.
It is aimed at sensitizing the public to all aspects of food and nutrition security, including the importance of agriculture, proper nutrition and the adoption of healthy lifestyle practices.