The Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC), is constantly conceptualising events and programmes to strengthen small farmers and micro-organisations.

This assertion was made by that organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Skeete, last Saturday, while speaking at the second farmers’ market held at the Princess Margaret Secondary School.?? Mr. Skeete maintained that events such as this were vital in creating opportunities for investment and engendering enterprise and prosperity in the agricultural sector.??

The BADMC head also disclosed that the Corporation would be enhancing its marketing department by recruiting an Agri-business Development Specialist.?? He said this individual would help "to provide greater value and to enable us to essentially deliver in this area of marketing, which we all know is of critical importance to agriculture, especially the farming community."??

Additionally, the Corporation, in conjunction with the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, is in the process of retrofitting the BADMC’s Convenience Store at the Grantley Adams International Airport.?? This project is aimed at providing opportunities for agro-processors to market their locally manufactured agriculture-based products.?? It

is anticipated that more Barbadians and visitors alike will be exposed to locally produced value-added products.

While emphasising that financial and technical assistance were key to the success of any farming exercise, Mr. Skeete revealed that his organisation was also currently finalising the framework for the introduction of the Agricultural Payments Guarantee Fund, which would be managed by the BADMC, in association with the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited.??

The fund is being established to reduce the cash flow burden experienced by some farmers who have to wait for lengthy periods to be paid after supplying produce to supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and other institutions. This pilot project will be implemented initially utilising two registered farmers’ organisations.

"Through the farmers’ organisations we will be making direct funds available to farmers, therefore enabling them to move swiftly back into production soon after they would have harvested their crops.?? They wouldn’t have to worry about waiting for months for payment as they would normally have," he explained.??

The next market will be held early next year, in the south of the island.

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