The Ministry of Agriculture has official launched its new Pilot Market Information System.
The system, which was produced in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, was launched today at Radisson Aquatica Resort.
It is described as a planning tool for farmers, stakeholders and everyone involved in the agriculture sector in Barbados.
The system, which should be available in June, will allow the Ministry to know what is being produced in Barbados, who is producing it, when it is being harvested and the demand for the product.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fishers and Water Resource Management, Esworth Reid said that in the past farmers had given up on the sector because they were dissatisfied with the lack of information.
???One cannot deny the fact that presently, activities in the agricultural sector in Barbados, and this includes the marketing of agricultural commodities, are done primarily by guess and in an adhoc manner. At present, there is no existing mechanism that would allow farmers easy access to information with respect to what is going on in the wider scope of the sector and further to this, there seems to be little or no networking between farmers and between the farmers and other stakeholders in the sector.
???It [Pilot Market Information System] should assist in reducing market risks and any dysfunction of the market that gives rise to frequent gluts and shortages and retardation of growth of the sector. When fully rolled out, from the data posted on the system, farmers should be able to project market supply of certain products, they should be able to project total demand and thus plan accordingly,??? he noted.
Representative from the FAO, Dr. Cedric Lazarus, said that his organisation was happy to assist the Ministry with the project.
He added that the information system was recognised worldwide as a vital tool which could provide reliable information to all involved in the sector.
Dr. Lazarus noted that the system would allow farmers and stakeholders to make informed decisions about the sector at all levels of production.