Barbadians have been urged to equip themselves with requisite skills and knowledge for growing their own food.
This was the key message sent by Director of the Rural Development Commission, (RDC) Randolph Outram, to over 20 participants who attended that organisation’s Grow What You Eat seminar, in the RDC’s Training Room, Bridge Street.
At the event entitled Selecting the Best Crops for Your Environment, Mr. Outram explained that the Commission was seeking to engage and encourage rural residents in the area of food security.
Noting the more individuals who plant, the greater the impact on the food import bill, he stressed: “Barbados is a small developing state and it is of paramount importance that our citizens understand that in the event of the occurrence of an international crisis, in which the transport of food to our country is critically affected, we should place ourselves in a position to survive by eating what we grow.”
Emphasising the need to protect the island’s food security, Mr. Outram said, “for that reason, the RDC is targeting every resident of rural Barbados, man, woman and child to encourage them to participate in the programme and equip them with skills to grow what you eat.” The Director added that part of the thrust would also involve a pilot programme for school children, expected to be launched next week.
Commending his staff on efforts with the Grow What You Eat programme, he disclosed that so far, the two open farm workshops had stimulated great interests and the growth receptacle and seedlings distribution programme, undertaken last week at the National Housing Corporation, attracted over 250 people collectively. “Imagine the scope of this programme in another two months, when we go forward with it,” he told the gathering.
Meanwhile, Senior Field Officer with the RDC, and workshop facilitator, Osmond Harewood, noting the impact of non-communicable diseases on the island, said, “All those things suddenly flare and we need to look at our diet and what we eat… We want to focus on ‘growing what you eat’…. If you could grow your own stuff, you know exactly what is in those things…. You can plant from a little pot to a backyard to an entire field. We have to get this thing right again.”
The half-day seminar examined, among other things, different vegetables, their nutritional value, the manner of production and how to manipulate and utilise the information disseminated.
RDC’s Grow What You Eat programme is part of the Barbados Sustainable Recovery Plan 2018, aimed at helping people to grow their own food with a view to reducing their food bill.