A local agriculturalist believes that too many Barbadians have become hooked on western style diets and refuse to explore the benefits of using local produce.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, made the comment this morning during a workshop for vendors participating in Agrofest 2011.

According to the BAS head, while some persons may argue that local produce is more expensive, he opined that, health-wise, Barbadians would pay more in the long term if they continued to use cheaper western food products.

These, Mr. Paul added, contributed to the lifestyle diseases, including diabetes, hypertension and heart problems, which were now afflicting Barbadians.

He has urged participants to explore new, creative and healthy ways of utilising local produce and preparing meals.

"There are several things we can do with our foods to make them more nutritious, rather than, for example, using foods such as macaroni pie. We can also grow our basic foodstuff to supply our home and if we use them, Barbadians would never go hungry."

With regard to Agrofest, Mr. Paul said he would wish to see a larger portion of local foods on display, not just raw materials such as breadfruit and cassava flour.

"We don’t only want to see [these] on display. We would wish to see more products made from our local resources. We are moving towards this, having foods that use, for example, breadfruit and cassava on display", he said.

During the half-day seminar, held at the Dining Club, Newton Industrial Park, Christ Church, vendors were sensitised to the benefits of using locally grown produce, particularly in the control, prevention and reduction of chronic non-communicable diseases, and they were introduced to healthy methods of preparing meals.

The workshop was a precursor to a special competition for food vendors which will be held during Agrofest 2011. Participants will be judged on their use of healthy, local ingredients and/or the methods used to prepare their dishes.

Agrofest 2011 will run from Friday, February 25, until Sunday, February 27, at Queen’s Park and its theme is Achieving Healthy Lifestyles through Agriculture.??Askeete@Barbados.gov.bb

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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