A member of the Surinamese government who is in Barbados on an official visit is calling for the non-tariff barriers which continue to hinder intra-regional trade to be removed.
Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of the Republic of Suriname Rabindre Parmessar said removing the barriers was necessary to allow for an easier movement of food products throughout the nation.
He was delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of Agrofest 2020 where he applauded Prime Minister Mia Mottley for agreeing to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with that South American country’s President Dési Bouterse to establish bilateral cooperation that will facilitate trade and cross border investment between the two countries through the Brokopondo Programme.
“Our region is a net food importing region with an estimated USD4.5 billion annual food import bill. The food imports are coming from extra regional sources while we have countries such as mine, Suriname, that can contribute to the food needs of the region at competitive prices. We have been knocking for decades at the doors of CARICOM and individual countries to facilitate trade through bilateral cooperation,” Parmessar said.
He said the Government of Suriname has taken the necessary steps to initiate and promote closer cooperation within the Caribbean Community to shape and give direction to bilateral cooperation in various areas including agriculture and animal husbandry, fishing, trade, transport and multi destination tourism.
“In our efforts to make our dreams come through, we as a nation have found a friend in the nation of Barbados, represented by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to be the pioneers to shape CARICOM concept of a single market and economy. We need more leaders like President Bouterse and Prime Minister Mottley promoting and acting in this light establishing tangible results,” he said.
The minister of agriculture indicated that scientific institutions in Suriname have agreed to assistance for Barbados in the areas of tissue culture, fish testing and procurement of various cultures of fruit tree crop seedlings. He also noted that a number of commodities have been identified which can lead to possible trade between the two countries.
“At the core of the agricultural component is the utilization of lands in Suriname by Barbadian entrepreneurs in the areas of crop production, livestock production and fish farming. The government of Suriname has agreed to make land available to Barbadian entrepreneurs.
“It is the understanding that the Government of Barbados is firmly committed to the development of a value chain around the Barbados black belly sheep, known not only for its tasty meat but also its fine quality leather. The realization of this goal has been hindered by the geographical constraints of the island. hence, it is proposed that a large number of sheep will be sent to Suriname where we have extensive pasturelands, water and large quantities of rice by-products,” he said.
The visiting agricultural minister also reported that a trial shipment of duck meat from Suriname had been sent to Barbados.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul said this year’s Agrogfest theme “We Gatherin’ We Fruit” ties in perfectly with the objective of the national initiative We Gatherin’ 2020.
He said the theme demonstrates the importance of Agriculture to the country and also the many career opportunities for young people available in the industry.
Agrofest which started today will end on Sunday. [email protected]