Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, expects there will be more reliance on the agricultural sector in Barbados, given the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
He stressed this on Tuesday at a recent press conference that was transmitted virtually from Ilaro Court to media representatives, out of respect for social distancing.
Minister Jordan said: “Once tourism arrivals dry up, there is a significant knock-on effect, and we knew that even without an interface of COVID-19 situation because much of the economy is driven by our tourist arrivals.
“So, there is a knock-on effect, and we would expect that there will be impact, negative impact, once tourism contracts across a range of sectors. There are some sectors that may be able to continue their work using the technology, International Business may be one such sector, but a number of sectors will be impacted.”
While emphasizing that agriculture was one sector that could see additional expansion at this point because the country had to rely on it, he added: “We are continuing to push, because we started before we got to this (COVID-19) situation, to get additional persons involved in farming. And so, we expect to see it pick up … while we see the contraction and decline in tourism and in tourism-related industries.”
The Labour Minister noted that those affected included hotels, restaurants, other direct services and “lots of construction” that were also driven by tourism, as well as the distributive trades, both on the duty free side and in relation to food and beverage.