An additional 76 Barbadians will find employment as entrepreneurs in food crop and livestock enterprises.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir announced on Friday that the government, through its marketing arm the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) – has provided 76 acres of land and water for irrigation at Poyers, St Lucy for this purpose under its Farmers’ Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme.
Weir told reporters some 45 acres have already been planted in a variety of food crops and he expects the project at Poyers in which some $500,000 has so far been invested, to be completed by the end of June.
“We have started to install the 1,000 gallon tanks and the farmers here in the FEED programme have started planting. There are a wide variety of crops that we are seeing here…yams, cassava, sweet potatoes. Some people have beets, pigeon peas, bananas, pumpkins…there is a big passion fruit project here as well,” the minister said.
He said when the project at Poyers is finished, the BADMC, which is responsible for the planning, implementation and management of the scheme, intends to move onto other farming communities across the island.
“We are working on additional projects across Barbados as well, but my focus this afternoon is how we can get everybody placed and the production going. So I am very, very pleased to see that we have got 45 acres already planted. Farmers in the FEED programme who have been waiting we have now got them placed, and the additional farmers will be placed and the water supply [will be provided] as a permanent solution,” Weir stated.
Member of Parliament for St Lucy Peter Phillips said that the project will create jobs not only for persons in that parish, but outside as well.
“This is an excellent programme and we continue to work on it. Everyday we are going to be adding persons. There is an aspect of it that has not been touched yet. Right now we are dealing primarily with food production, but you also have the sheep rearing. That is a part we are going to be dealing with as well,” Phillips pointed out.
The FEED venture, which officially started in April 2019 is aimed at reducing agricultural imports which will ensure national food and nutrition security and accommodate persons with a desire to establish agricultural enterprises in a variety of farming systems. (EJ)