The Government’s agricultural development and marketing agency – makers of the Carmeta’s range of processed flours and meats – is to see its funding slashed by two-thirds, along with other state farm agencies.
For the next fiscal year which begins in April, the Barbados Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) is to receive just $1.5 million, down from $4.75 million received last year.
The BADMC is one of the statutory corporations that the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) progrmame is seeking to wean off government subventions.
Under that programme, several state-owned entities are to cut staff and find ways of reducing their costs and improve efficiency.
The BADMC, which employed about 199 people, embarked on its layoffs late last year with plans of cutting about 60 workers.
The board of directors said in a statement that it was agreed that the BADMC needed to cut spending by about $600,000 by the end of last year.
Also in line for a major cut in grants is the Barbados Agricultural Management Company Limited (BAMC), which runs the sugar cane industry.
That agency, which retrenched close to 50 of its 500 employees under the BERT programme, will also have its funding slashed to a third of its former levels. The agency is to receive only $10 million “for debt service support” in the 2019-2020 financial year, compared to the $31.6 million as stated in the revised estimates for the current fiscal year.
Government’s flagship farm development programme, the Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED), is to get a grant of $2 million for the 2019/2020 financial year.
Overall, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been allocated a budget of $65.58 million, down from the $77.29 million for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.