Prime Minister Mia Mottley has identified agriculture and health care as areas in which she would like Barbados to “do some serious work” with New Zealand.
Prime Minister Mottley expressed this desire on Thursday when High Commissioner of New Zealand, Jan Henderson, paid her a farewell visit, at Government Headquarters.
The Prime Minister said New Zealand had distinguished itself as being able to attract some of its best and brightest students in agriculture.
Underscoring the importance of the sector, she insisted that it became even more critical when a country was impacted by a hurricane or was cut off from the rest of the world. She said a country must be able to feed itself in case of a national crisis.
She pointed out that international trade was extremely important to Barbados as it significantly impacted the design of domestic trade policy; and disclosed that a session would be held shortly with Cabinet to examine that area. She stated that those products indigenous to Barbados, including the black belly sheep, had great potential, and proffered the view that a credible manufacturing sector must be developed from them.
During the wide-ranging discussions, Mottley said a lot of Barbados’ coral reefs had died and as the country focused on rebuilding these diverse underwater ecosystems, it wanted to take a leadership role as it worked with other countries facing similar challenges.
The Prime Minister said Barbados’ relationship with New Zealand meant a lot to her and that she looked forward to further strengthening it.
In the area of agriculture, Henderson promised that New Zealand would assist Barbados wherever it could, and noted that some years ago, there was a fundamental rethink of agriculture in her country.
The Prime Minister and the High Commissioner also discussed the importance of the maritime sector and training opportunities in that area, with Henderson saying that she recently had extensive discussions with Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey.
Those attending the meeting included acting Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Terry Bascombe, and Second Secretary in the New Zealand High Commission’s office in Bridgetown, Ruth Delany.