MEETING ON NATIONAL MEDIUM-TERM PRIORITY FRAMEWORK OFFICIALLY STARTS

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Minister of Agriculture, Sen. Haynesley Benn

A Government Minister has called on Small Island Developing States to pay greater attention to their agricultural sectors despite the current economic climate.

Speaking today at the opening ceremony of the five-day workshop of the Fourth Annual Meeting on the National Medium-Term Priority Frameworks at United Nations House, Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn said, “these states are faced with additional challenges of global climate change, the need to adopt strategies to address the proliferation of trade agreements, the pursuit of bio-energy and rising food prices which all impact negatively on our food security.”

iting this country’s dwindling sugar crop production over the last five years to the export market, Senator Benn contended that, “there was urgent need for strategies to be implemented to ensure the sustainability of our agricultural sectors.”

He added that Barbados along with its Caribbean counterparts are “faced with a number of constraints”.

“Our agricultural industry has to compete for scarce resources such as land, labour and capital. Praedial Larceny continues to be a growing problem in this country and more recently, we have been confronted with the problems brought on by high global energy costs and climate change,” he stressed.

Senator Benn noted that in an attempt to deal with these issues, the Ministry of Agriculture has drafted a five-year Medium-Term Strategy for the Agricultural Sector which would lay out the priorities, plans and goals for the island’s agricultural sector, as well as enhance and implement strategies to reposition the sector.

“It is envisaged that the transformation of the sector will be achieved through the promotion of an agri-business approach to farming. The Strategic Plan speaks to the attainment of nine broad strategic goals formulated to assist the agricultural and fisheries sectors here in Barbados to achieve the overall vision (for the sector) during the period 2008 to 2013,” he opined.

“I am of the view that our society needs to be educated on the importance of agriculture. There is need for the stigma formerly associated with the sector to be replaced and for the industry to be promoted as respectable and rewarding,” declared the Minister.

tblackman@barbados.gov.bb

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