Agrofest is back this year after being cancelled in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with chairman of the festival James Paul highlighting the significant contribution the agriculture sector continues to make to the Barbados economy.
Paul said this year’s event will again see the best in local agricultural products on display, as the drive continues to showcase the importance of the sector to the island.
Speaking at the Radisson Hotel at a media launch for the island’s premier agricultural exhibition which will be held May 28-29 in Queen’s Park, Paul said: “It is more than just an exhibition. It is a way of the agriculture sector saying to the country at large, ‘this is our contribution that we are making to the economic activity in Barbados; we want you to appreciate the importance of it, the fact that it is making a significant contribution, the fact that it is employing people in every possible way and, of course, we must find ways to preserve it’.”
He added that this year’s exhibition has been noticeably scaled down compared to previous editions, with no special day set aside for school children.
However, there is still a large number of exhibitors expected – 200, including 50 from Guyana, as an effort is made to include more Caribbean countries in the farmers’ event.
“We have had to scale it down a little bit because in a sense we don’t have Weymouth [Ground], but we have found a way to effectively utilize [Queen’s Park]. We are assiduously working in order to ensure that in every way, we try to bring together those critical things in agriculture to make sure that people will get some kind of understanding of what is happening in agriculture,” Paul said.
“We are expecting around 200 exhibitors; so far we are at 123. I think we should be able to handle them quite comfortably.… At one point in time, we were talking about 58 exhibitors from Guyana, but I’m not sure at this stage. I know right now, for instance, the construction of the house that they spoke about is going to start sometime next week at Queen’s Park… but we are looking for around 50 [exhibitors] overall.”
Senior Manager at Pinnacle Feeds Adrian Yarde expressed his excitement at the showcase being on this year.
“We truly need Agrofest 2022. One could easily argue that its timing is immaculate. If you look at the recent past and what this country has been through, we can clearly see that the agriculture sector has demonstrated its commitment and resiliency by not only contributing but by steadfastly feeding our nation throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns and the early challenges to the global supply chain that we experienced from 2020.
“This is the time that we can show the entire world that a small island developing state like Barbados can devise and implement programmes to feed its people, but we don’t do this alone, we do this with the help of our CARICOM neighbours.” (SB)