A new agricultural trading platform was launched here this week by the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC), with Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick suggesting that it had the potential to transform the local sector.
Known as the BADMC’s Crop Value Chain Services, the technological platform seeks to bring together buyers and sellers for the purpose of online trade.
“This is the first time in the country, that an agricultural commodities trading platform, being Internet-based, allows a farmer in this country, once he is registered with the Ministry of Agriculture, to be able to uplink what he has to sell, directly and in real-time, and offer that particular item for sale, directly to any buyer within the system or regionally or extra-regionally,” said Estwick, while adding that this “connection in a real time and in a primary way between the farmer and the market will transform agriculture in Barbados”.
He also acknowledged that such a platform was missing when he became Minister in 2010, while suggesting that it could help the island reduce its dependence on food imports.
“You would always hear manufacturers, supermarkets or other purchasers say, ‘we cannot get the product that we want, we can’t get the volume that we want, we can’t get the sustainability and qualities and productivities and so on that we want.’ What I want to say today is that all of those problems will now be resolved,” the Minister of Agriculture said, adding that he no longer wanted to hear any local supermarket saying it could not find items such as yams, pumpkins, squash or chicken.
“We now have a tool to eliminate this whole notion that you cannot find the agricultural produce in Barbados,” he stressed.
Estwick said a packaging facility would also be established for processing of the online orders.
Government is also seeking to mechanize its cassava production with a view to having improved reaping times and cutting costs.