|Minister of Agriculture, Dr. David Estwick??|
If Agriculture Minister, Dr. David Estwick has his way, the days of farmers and consumers having to deal with gluts or scarcities of produce could be a thing of the past.
Speaking during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, he said his Ministry was exploring a number of options to ensure that such problems are eliminated.
Dr. Estwick noted with regard to scarcities, this would require efficient management of agricultural market intelligence to ensure the right crops are produced by farmers for maximum market value, while for gluts, he suggested the development of a more efficient export arrangement for local farmers.
The Minister referred to the period when Barbados exported many agricultural products such as yams, eddoes, breadfruits, and cassavas to trading partners across the globe.
In this regard, the Agriculture Minister is looking within the coming financial year at a newly designed type of export structure where Barbados could trade some of its local produce which may be plentiful.
"I would not want to hear a farmer once we have this put in place, saying he has a glut of 20, 000 tonnes and he doesn’t know what to do. We, therefore, have to manage the market intelligence, understand the demand and be able to create the infrastructure for this to be able to work towards exportation," he added.
Dr. Estwick also expressed concern about the importation of some products into the island, particularly when the raw materials could be grown and secondary products made here.
"Why in Barbados should we be importing pepper mash to make pepper sauce when there is so much idle land about Barbados? The Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) has hundreds of acres of land but yet we spend thousands of dollars importing pepper mash into Barbados which makes no sense. I can pinpoint so many other items that we do the same thing with…cucumbers, pumpkin and the list goes on," he disclosed.
Dr. Estwick revealed that his Ministry, through the BADMC, would soon be embarking on an extensive marketing programme which would seek to minimise the effects of crop gluts or scarcities of produce.