Minister of Agriculture, Sen. Haynesley Benn (centre), being assisted by Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, Bobbi McKay, and widower of Carmeta Fraser, George Fraser, in cutting the ribbon to officially open??the BADMC’s Airport shop. (Image: C. Pitt/BGIS)??
Encouraging Barbadians to buy local has been the objective of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) for the last nine years, when the ???Buy Local’ campaign was established.
This was reiterated by the Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn today at the official re-opening of the BADMC’s Airport Shop. Now known as Carmeta’s, the store honours the late Carmeta Fraser, an innovative food enthusiast, whose name is synonymous with local produce.
He mentioned that through her years at the BADMC and the Barbados Marketing Corporation (BMC), Carmeta promoted a "grow what you eat and eat what you grow" concept, which, if thoroughly practised today, would be beneficial to us.
"Today, the world is facing an economic crisis. I believe that this country would have been better prepared to face this…had we embraced Carmeta’s message with the same vigour and enthusiasm she attached to it," Senator Benn stated.
As a result, Carmeta’s features a variety of locally-made products. Through this initiative, marketing opportunities will increase for local businesses and motivate them to look for innovative ways to utilise Barbadian resources.
"Our natural resources are not as varied as other countries…One area which is rich with opportunities is the agro-based industry. The agro-processing sector is growing and individuals are demonstrating much creativity with our peppers, sugar cane, golden
apples, tamarinds, even aloe vera. But there is still much more to be done," the Minister affirmed.
The BADMC shop is strategically positioned to attract export opportunities. Its location at the Grantley Adams International Airport will draw sales from locals working at and visiting the airport, locals travelling abroad and tourists who are returning home. Hence, Senator Benn urged manufacturers to aim for the highest quality produce in order to take advantage of these opportunities.
"Manufacturers are being challenged to keep their standards high and to enhance the appeal of their packaging and labelling. Many are already producing their products to international standards, but we want to encourage others to ensure that their labels are carrying the nutritional facts about their products and to ensure that the manufacture and expiration dates are indicated," he maintained.