Brathwaite: Agriculture Needs National Commitment

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Dr. Chelston Brathwaite (FP)??

Each and every Barbadian must make a personal commitment to support this country’s agricultural sector and decrease the rising food import bill.

This call was made by Chairman of the National Agricultural Commission and Director Emeritus of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, who stressed that the feeding of a nation must be the responsibility of its citizens, who should recognise the critical role they have to play.

He was speaking during the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management’s third and final town hall meeting on agriculture held last night at the Alexandra School in St. Peter.

??"Each and every one of us sitting here this evening has a sacred responsibility to contribute. This is not all about the Minister or Ministry of Agriculture; this is about the people of the nation and their response to a crisis situation in our world. What will you do? What will you contribute?" he queried.

Dr. Brathwaite proffered the view that when Barbadians spend their monies on imported goods, they are not only building the economy of another country but they are contributing to the growing health-related problems presently affecting Barbados.

"When we take that food import bill, it is BDS $2,332 dollars for every man, woman and child in this country who contribute to that BDS $653 million [food import bill] and, therefore, we have a personal responsibility to respond. This is not all the government’s responsibility. When we leave here and we continue to, instead of supporting our own farmers, support farmers from elsewhere, we too are contributing to the problem. When we consume those foods that are high in trans-fat, sugar and salt, we too are contributing to the problem. It seems to me that we have a serious personal responsibility to help in fashioning a way forward for our country," the agricultural official remarked.

Dr. Brathwaite added that it will be the people of Barbados who will decide if agriculture is important or not and decide the way forward and he, therefore, encouraged them to think very seriously about the future of the sector.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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