Cabinet has approved a new agriculture initiative entitled Project CARE (community agriculture response and empowerment), which will provide opportunities for communities to plant their own food.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the disclosure during an address to the nation on Thursday, where she outlined a number of initiatives her Government would be introducing to help Barbadians to cope, as food and oil prices continue to escalate across the world.
Stating that Cabinet agreed to the project one week ago, Ms. Mottley explained that the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) and the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) would provide support with land clearing, cultivation and planting material.
“Indeed, a toolkit with a shovel, hoe, fork, garden hose, spray can and seedlings will be included, and the project has already attracted the support of private sector members in order to assist BADMC. Gale’s Hatcheries has already come on board to work with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that we can provide baby chicks.
“We have also…asked Minister [of Agriculture, Indar] Weir to include…a provision for those who want rabbits and we are also working with the Guyanese Government to get the Brazilian black hen here, in order to be able to help those families to help themselves,” the Prime Minister said.
She emphasised the importance of Project CARE, saying it would provide fellowship for the elderly as well as revenue for young persons, and also ensure that those below the poverty line would be able to cope and deal with the high food costs.
Ms. Mottley noted that BADMC and BAMC would produce a series of videos on how to grow produce and raise livestock, to assist persons getting involved in these areas.
During the near one-hour address, the Prime Minister reminded her audience that over the next few months officials from the Ministry of Commerce would be monitoring prices twice monthly, to ensure that the various initiatives announced to assist householders, including the reduction of prices on 44 items, would be realised.
“The robust programme of monitoring and publishing of prices, not only to the public but now to the Cabinet, every two weeks, will ensure that Barbadians get the best prices where they can,” she assured.
With regard to vegetables, Ms. Mottley said Government was working with Barbadian producers, as well as importers from Guyana and Suriname to see how they could continue to reduce the price of vegetables.
She added that Senior Minister Kerrie Symmonds and other Ministers had been tasked to continue discussions on the provision of fish.
“In recent times, we have seen an increase in fish prices…. Supermarkets have reported that prices, for example, of dolphin have gone from $10 a kilogramme to $16, and therefore we need to understand better what is informing this level of increase within the fishing industry and to see how best we can work together to ensure that Barbadians can still have access to affordable fish,” she stated.