Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir. (FP)

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) was commended for its 44 years of stellar work and commitment to agriculture in Barbados and the Caribbean.

During his remarks today to celebrate CARDI Day, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, praised the Institute for its continuous agricultural research work across the region.         

Speaking to the theme of the day Celebrating the potential of the region’s coconut industry and the introduction of the coconut shredder machine to CARDI’s facilities, located on the grounds of the Ministry at Graeme Hall, Christ Church, Minister Weir stated: “The coconut project is very significant to Barbados….  It has been tabled to do a number of things for farmers in Barbados and also for those who are involved in coconut vending….

“I am indeed pleased to note that while going about the development of coconut nurseries in Barbados that CARDI has gone to the next level in helping us eliminate wastage along our highways by making it possible now for all those empty shells to be shredded.”

Mr. Weir advised CARDI to utilize this day to reflect, and also to do strategic planning, as is the case with the Ministry, which is currently seeking to address such areas as climate change, climate-smart agriculture, implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as well as the rebranding of agriculture primarily among school children.

CARDI’s Day of activities also included a demonstration of the coconut shredder machine, touring of the two coconut plant nurseries and displays of coconut by-products and information booklets on how to produce selected agricultural commodities.

On December 5, 1974, government representatives across the region signed the Agreement Establishing CARDI in Georgetown, Guyana. CARDI was established to serve the agricultural research and development needs of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CARDI has assisted Barbados in its coconut industry development, and in research areas such as small ruminant nutrition, roots and tubers, hot peppers, corn and coconuts.

In concluding his remarks, Minister Weir highlighted that the Ministry was embarking on a collaborative effort with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), CARDI, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture on the Parliamentary Fronts Against Hunger (PFH) initiative to introduce a school feeding programme within the primary schools. It will assist in providing healthy and wholesome meals to Barbadian school children, including coconut by-products.

Mr. Weir added that an ‘out of the box’ occurrence would be taking place on December 11, when FAO representatives would deliver a presentation to the Parliament of Barbados on PFH and the eradication of malnutrition.

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