The annual Agrofest exhibition continues to be a major hit with school children, as hundreds flocked to Queen’s Park, The City, on Friday for the14th staging of the major agricultural showcase.
President of the Barbados Agriculture Society (BAS) James Paul told Barbados TODAY he was generally pleased with the turn out on the opening day, while pointing out that in addition to the school children, a deliberate attempt was made this year to market the event to tourists.
“So we actually sent out brochures to the hotels inviting their participation and they have been supportive,” the BAS official said, adding that his hope was that “as we go through the Saturday and Sunday we will see some additional tourists passing through”.
The three-day event, which is organized by the BAS, showcases a range of animals, food and other items, as well as services, including finance and communication, offering a wide variety of purchase and sign up opportunities for patrons.
This year there are over 300 exhibitors.
While saying he was satisfied with the response so far, Paul appealed to Barbadians to continue to support the event.
“I am satisfied that we have actually improved over last year . . . . Our ticket sales to schools have been pretty good,” he said without giving any actual numbers.
“I want to say to Barbadians this is what I will call our premiere agriculture festival and we want to show the linkages that agriculture has with the rest of the economy.
“I want to encourage Barbadians to come out and support the faming community and the livestock community,” he said.
Today’s showing was incident-free, with Paul reporting that there was very little impact from the rain. However, he said officials continued to keep a close eye on the weather to ensure it did not make it too difficult for those who were set up on the pasture.
Jim Godfrey and his wife Janet Godfrey are visiting Barbados with their friends Jacqui Jacques and Cliff Jacques from England. They told Barbados TODAY they were delighted to take part in the agricultural exhibition and to see the tremendous turn out of school children today.
“It is a bigger show than we expected. We were quite surprised. There are a lot of people here and it is great that the general public is coming in and able to see farm animals and plants first hand,” said Jim, who is the president of the Royal Agriculture Society of England.
He has been coming to Barbados for the past 56 years, but said this was his first visit to the annual showcase. He said he was happy that authorities here were placing emphasis on growing the agriculture sector since “it creates employment and helps the economy”.
Janet, who is president of the Lincolnshire Agriculture Society, said she was especially pleased to see the number of school children passing through the event.
“I think the more they understand where their food comes from and see it growing, the more they will buy local,” she said, adding, “hopefully some of these children would grow up to be farmers”.
Today the students appeared quite eager to learn about the various exhibits, with Shavania Hackett, Symphony Rock and Jenique Bent of St Ambrose Primary School describing today’s visit as a learning experience.
“The experience was so wonderful. I wish that Agrofest was every day . . . I just love Agrofest,” said Rock.
Bent said while she knew about some of the animals before, she was able to learn a lot more, especially about the chickens and rabbits.