|One of the airport shops,
Carmeta’s, at its official opening.
The Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) is seeking to expand its agro processing capacity, to ensure there is a greater variety of local agricultural products on the market.
This was revealed recently by the BADMC’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Skeete, who pointed out that his department would soon be moving its agro processing facilities to a new location in Christ Church.
??Agro processing involves turning primary agricultural products or crops into secondary or tertiary goods for sale.
"We are in the process of completing a retrofit of a Barbados Industrial Development Corporation unit at the Grantley Adams Industrial Estate, where we are going to move most of the agro processing activities relating to crops such as cassava flour, pancake mixes, sweet potato cookies and that type of value added [there]. That side of our operation will be moved to the estate, where we have some new equipment," Mr. Skeete explained.
He added that the BADMC would also seek to introduce technical support such as quality and product testing to assist local agro processors.
"We have a food scientist on board and we can essentially outfit a small laboratory where we would be able to provide some further support to the agro processors on the island," the official revealed.
The CEO said such support would complement the CARMETES initiative, where shelf space is provided to agro processors at the Grantley Adams International Airport to offer high quality local food products for sale.
"Last year we would have averaged between five and six thousand Barbados dollars a month in value added sales at the airport and convenience shops… I think it is a good start and it could be the genesis of something bigger, particularly if we get the agro processing sector to [develop] the way it is supposed to. The airport shops are an ideal location for people who are leaving to take a product made in Barbados back to their homeland as souvenirs," he maintained.
Mr. Skeete said that project has been progressing quite well with some 20 people benefitting to date and he is hoping that with the expansion of the BADMC’s agro processing operations, the department can offer more products and variety in the future.