|Acting Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesly Benn (right) congratulating??third-placed winner Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe of Grenada; and Marlon Johnson of Jamaica, who took second place; while local filmmaker Allison Saunders looks on. (A. Miller/BGIS)|
Agriculture’s contribution to Barbados’ food sovereignty and overall prosperity should not be underestimated.
This was stated by acting Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesly Benn, as he addressed a viewing of winning films in the 2011 Caribbean Science and Agriculture Film and Video Competition held at George Washington House last evening.
It was part of the 3rd Annual Caribbean Tales Film Festival being staged until April 15.
He said: "Agriculture has a responsibility…to create linkages [with] the environment, because we have to teach farmers to use the various chemicals [and] not to bombard the environment; [with] education, because I believe that a modern commitment to agriculture must originate in schools.
He called on young persons involved in agriculture to intensify their efforts and seek to take their value added products and have them occupying the shelves of the various supermarkets in Barbados. That would help to reduce the food import bill [and] would help to create additional employment…" he observed.
Minister Benn also noted that improving dialogue with rural communities was essential to the sector’s success and he encouraged "… governments throughout the Caribbean to spend more of their dollars developing rural communities. If you look at the annual estimates in all the Caribbean countries, a very small percentage of funds is spent on [their] development…we want to ensure that [they] benefit from research in agriculture…"
Senator Benn expressed his support for the film venture, which used non-conventional means to draw attention to agriculture and its viability.????????????????????????????
"I am told that some of your objectives…[are to] attract investment in agriculture and rural communities…I have a strong conviction that we in the Caribbean should be able to feed ourselves.?? We have enough land in the region to achieve this, so we should be able to create linkages among the various sectors," Senator Benn remarked.??????
Filmmakers Vincent Lewis of Trinidad, whose film ???Bee Wise’ placed first in the competition, and ???Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe of Grenada, whose film ???Food for Thought’ placed third, were both present for the screening, which also featured ???Trial and Error’ by Marlon Johnson of Jamaica, which took second place.
The competition is sponsored by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation – ACP/EU, the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, and the University of the West Indies.?? It challenges persons from ages 18 to 35, who are involved in agriculture, rural or economic development, communications or related areas, to produce a short film to increase public awareness about the industry’s careers, challenges and development.