Several of Barbados??? strategies to boost manufacturing and take advantage of the Brazilian market were yesterday outlined to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade in Brasilia, when Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Maxine McClean paid a visit to that office.
Senator McClean, in giving the rationale for Barbados??? political/commercial Mission to Brazil to Executive Secretary and Deputy Minister, Ricardo Schaefer, highlighted this country???s ongoing efforts to revitalise the sugar cane industry, through new methods of production and the use of technology. She also noted the progress made as a result of embracing solar energy.
Pointing out that an agriculturalist was among those persons in Brasilia as part of the Mission, Senator McClean told Mr. Schaefer: ???We, in Barbados, have taken a decision to seriously resuscitate our sugar cane industry and move beyond the production of sugar, because traditionally, we produced sugar for bulk export, but we are now looking at sugar cane in a number of ways ??? biofuel and increased molasses production. For us to do that, the traditional methods of planting would not suffice.
???So, he (the agriculturalist) has been here [in Brazil], [he] has purchased sugar equipment from Brazil; has also studied your methods of production and is proposing to work closely with Government to rehabilitate lands that have been out of cultivation.???
In response to a query by Mr. Schaefer about Barbados??? energy requirements, Senator McClean explained that the island???s energy generation was largely oil-based ???at this point???.
The Deputy Minister and his team were, however, told that Barbados had seen significant savings for approximately 30 years as a result of using solar water heaters; a product which, she said, Barbados hopes will do well in Brazil. Senator McClean also stated that legislation had been drafted to provide incentives and a framework so that generators of alternative energy could feed into the national grid.
She noted that Barbados was seeking to revisit some of the technology the island used in manufacturing and pointed out that Barbados??? Ministry of Industry was interested in exploring and improving technology in the manufacturing sector for a number of products including food processing, pharmaceuticals and electronics. This, she noted, created an opportunity for seeking more up-to-date technology that could be easily adapted to smaller scale operations.
Deputy Minister Schaefer assured Senator McClean that Brazil could help solve this problem and improve Barbados??? production methods and to this end he suggested identifying a set of priority areas for analyses.
???Perhaps if we can better understand your needs we could see how we could assist,??? he said.??In response, Senator McClean gave the assurance that she would urge Minister of Industry, Donville Inniss, to identify three or four critical areas within the manufacturing sector that could benefit from analyses of their processes.