Several Changes Coming To Next Year???s Agrofest

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Several changes are coming to next year’s National Agricultural Exhibition, more popularly known as Agrofest.

This was revealed by Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, who said the seven-year-old event would be spreading its wings to the Weymouth ???B’ pasture, where a children’s area and several other exhibits will be housed.

Speaking at the Launch of Agrofest 2012 at the Dining Club, Newton Industrial Estate, Christ Church, this morning, he said: "We have re-arranged several things at Agrofest. So, where we had a very cooped up kids’ entertainment area by the northern gate of Queen’s Park, we have moved that to Weymouth ???B’. So, we have bigger rides that the children can enjoy themselves and in addition to that, [Weymouth ???B’] is where the renewable energy exhibits will actually be going."

The BAS head disclosed that some 220 exhibitors had signed up for Agrofest 2012 so far and this number could increase by the time Agrofest opened.

Mr. Paul said another addition to the exhibition would be "Dinner under the Stars" at Queen’s Park on Friday, February 24. At the event, some 300 patrons will have the opportunity to taste the best of local cuisine prepared by renowned Barbadian chef, Peter Edey.

"This is a mouthwatering six course dinner with all Barbadian products. We have limited tickets available, so we are encouraging persons to book early.

It will be an exciting affair… Advertisers and sponsors will also have the opportunity to showcase their products with persons in the [agricultural] community."

Mr. Paul noted that for next year a special effort would be made to reach out to homeowners to take part in the kitchen garden competition.

He said more prizes would be at stake in the competition and he called on more Barbadians to sign up.

President of the BAS, Carlyle Brathwaite, observed that some 60, 000 patrons attended the exhibition earlier this year and it was a tremendous opportunity for the agricultural sector to forge closer links with the business community.

"Sixty thousand persons attending an event is something that we cannot take lightly and we will be aiming for more next year. This presents a huge marketing opportunity which we must take advantage of. We cannot, and must not let the opportunity slip from our grasp," he stressed.

Mr. Brathwaite pointed out that another encouraging aspect of the national exhibition was the involvement of young Barbadians in livestock rearing; a trend which he would like to see continue next year.

"The interesting thing about the show [Blackbelly Sheep Show] is the fact that it is attracting the attention of an amazing number of young people who are learning valuable skills in livestock rearing. I expect that Agrofest 2012 would show an even greater interest, resulting in an increase in the number of livestock being exhibited. The show can compete with any other that exists in the region and we are hoping to attract regional participation also."

Agrofest 2012, which will be held under the theme Renewable Energy – Powering Agriculture to Success, will take place from February 24 to 26.

Further information on the event may be obtained by contacting the Agrofest Secretariat, c/o The Barbados Agricultural Society, The Grotto, Beckles Road, St. Michael at 436-6683, fax number 435-0651, email address agrofest@caribsurf.com or by visiting the website http://www.basonevoice.org/.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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