Minister of Agriculture, Sen. Haynesley Benn, looks on as hs wife Marjorie Benn (centre) presents??the Minister’s Award for Long and Meritorius Service to Joyce Robinson.

Agriculture Minister, Senator Haynesley Benn, is pleased with the output by the local farming community.

Speaking last weekend at the Annual Awards Ceremony for World Food Day at Grand Barbados Beach Resort, he noted that he was satisfied that, "in spite of the constraints of increased production, fuel costs and adverse climate conditions, our farmers have been able to maintain high levels of food production".

While adding that dairy and sheep farmers had also obtained high production levels, he said: "I am even more pleased to repeat that many householders have responded to the challenge of backyard farming and have been growing more of the food they consume."

The Minister lauded the efforts of agricultural workers and deemed the week a success, as he noted that agriculture was once again in the spotlight.

"Now more than before, the world is looking to the agricultural sector to resolve the many challenges arising from the present economic climate," he said.

The awards, which culminated a week of activities in celebration of World Food Day, highlighted those persons, as well as schools, that made a significant contribution to the industry.

Emphasising that agriculture should be at the forefront of a country’s development, Senator Benn reiterated that food security was an integral component of progress in any society, and served as a buffer to protect a country from the effects of a future global crisis.

He said this country’s youth had a pivotal role to play in reshaping the attitudes of society towards agriculture, and pointed out that his Ministry had been actively engaging in promoting agricultural projects with young citizens.?? He specifically named the Barbados 4-H Foundation, the Youth in Agriculture Project and to a lesser extent, the Boys’ Scouts Association, as organisations that foster a better appreciation of the sector.

"Agriculture has been described as the ???bedrock of society’ and it is only fitting that our focus be shifted to investing in agriculture, intently for food sustainability, for earning foreign exchange, and obtaining economic growth," he said.

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