Agricultural powerhouse Suriname is offering land to Barbadians interested in farming, the Prime Minister said Sunday.
She told journalists that on her recent visit to Suriname, she signed an economic, technical and cooperation agreement with the Dutch-speaking CARICOM member state, which, in addition to other provisions, outlined the fact that the South American government is prepared to provide “significant tracts of land” for Barbadians to farm.
“We visited farms, acres, and all we can see is pineapples. We visited other farms and saw all kinds of fruits. And the truth is that the Caribbean shall, and should never starve, and should never be wanting for resources and commodities, with Suriname and Guyana as part of the other Caribbean countries. Our problem is that somebody has to make it happen, and somebody has to come to work every day to make it happen,” Mottley said.
On the sidelines of the signing of a loan with Inter-American Development Bank with IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno at her Bay Street office, she told reporters that Suriname exports over 38 000 tonnes of fish to the European Union but that Barbados cannot get a single ton exported, because the requisite sanitary measures and laboratory facilities are not in place to allow the markets to be certified export-ready.
But Mottley said Barbados should also be able to tap into the European market, since the island has one of the most mature fishing industries in the southern Caribbean.
“Rather than seek to create from scratch, I have agreed that we would simply seek to speak to CARICOM to certify the Caribbean Agriculture Health and Food Safety Agency as our national agency, and that once we do that with the appropriate labs, it would save us good sums of money,” Prime Minister Mottley said.
The regional food safety agency is based in Suriname.