Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
“Growing your own food is like printing your own money.” – Ron Finley, Afro-American fashion designer, personal trainer, and proponent of urban gardening.
The poultry industry in Barbados will die a slow, painful death unless radical changes are made.
Barbadian poultry and livestock farmers must produce their own feed and not rely on monopoly foreign-owned businesses with prices and production affected by fluctuating world prices of corn and other inputs. Local farmers should have realised long ago that producing their feed at a lower cost is a major key to maintaining profitable poultry and livestock industries.
Years ago, as a way to protect and maintain the local poultry industry, this letter-writer advised local farmers to procure their own feed plant and produce feed with locally grown inputs on a cooperative basis. Just a few days ago, Barbadians have been informed that two more feed-producing businesses are due to set up on the island. The spirit of enterprise and entrepreneurship has truly departed from the psyche of Barbadians.
There has got to be a balance between consumption and production. We cannot be all consumers and not producers. We cannot continue to expend so much foreign currency on food imports. Our food import bill is climbing far too high. In the year 2021, food and beverage imports were approximately $656.6 million. The food and beverage import bill for 2023 has risen to $817 million.
In order to achieve a significant level of food security
and sovereignty, it is obvious that we must produce our own food.
We must never forget the warning of Thomas Sankara, former president of Burkina Faso, “He who feeds you controls you.”