A promised multimillion-dollar germplasm bank that will help boost Barbados’ food security is still in the pipeline.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Security Indar Weir made the disclosure on Friday as he identified that as one of several initiatives the Government plans to bring on stream soon.
Speaking to the media during his tour of Agrofest on the opening day of the agriculture expo, he gave an update on plans for a germplasm bank, which is a facility that preserves genetic resources such as seeds, gametes, somatic cells and stem cells of target species.
“We are building out at the Home Agriculture Station, a germplasm bank that is going to be second to none in the Caribbean; an investment of over $15 million, giving us a state-of-the-art facility up to Category 5 standards, so that if we were to get a major hurricane Barbados would still be able to recover with the seed bank and the germplasm bank that we are going to have,” Weir said.
“We are going to have an innovation centre there as well, where school children can go and see the Internet of things in agriculture and that should provide the impetus for our schools to return to having agriculture as part of the curriculum [and] equally induce young people to see agriculture as a viable career option and to participate.”
Meanwhile, on the issue of the recent announcement by Pinnacle Feeds Ltd that it will raise the price of animal feed products by as much as eight per cent from March 15, Minister Weir said the Government was awaiting information from the company to fully analyse the cost of feed production.
“I . . . have asked Pinnacle to put on the table what it costs to produce feed and I’ve asked them to give me their landed costs. I’ve asked ADM [Barbados Mills] to also provide us with their information. I note that there are some transfer costs between Pinnacle Roberts and ADM, and I’ve asked to have that information as well,” he said.
“We are going to do a thorough analysis of the costs of production and then we will come back with an answer…. Until then, there is not much more that I can say about that.” (SB)