After a two-year hiatus, the popular Barbadian agricultural showcase, Agrofest, has returned to Queen’s Park.
Themed Greening Together Ah Caribbean Ting, the event was officially opened on Friday with a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley; President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Dr. Mohammad Irfaan Ali; Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation and Labour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saboto Caesar and Minister of Agriculture of Guyana, Mustapha Zulfikar, among other local and regional dignitaries.
In his remarks, Barbados’ Minister of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Security, Indar Weir, acknowledged that the past two years were difficult without the showcase but stated he was “absolutely proud” that Agrofest was back.
He praised the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for collaborating to ensure that it could achieve the goals that were set. “I’m indeed certain that were there any doubts in the past that CARICOM can come together and stand in unity for one common good, I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt after my visit to Guyana last week to attend the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo, …I’ve been following the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and Caribbean regional politics for the longest time, and this is the first time in our existence that I’ve seen so many heads of CARICOM come together with one common theme, reducing our food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, all in agreement of this initiative,” he stated.
The Agriculture Minister further stated that this was proof that if the region worked together, “we can unpack the challenges, deal with them and do the heavy lifting towards achieving a common objective”.
Mr. Weir noted that his Ministry has provided several opportunities for everyone interested in farming and agriculture. “Equally, those who are grabbing with both hands the opportunity to participate and I’m indeed proud that we have led the way with the Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive, our F.E.E.D programme, which is our national flagship programme that gives every single soul an opportunity to participate in agriculture, once he or she has the will so to do,” he said.
Minister Weir thanked President Ali, Prime Minister Mottley and other CARICOM Heads of Government, as well as his fellow CARICOM Ministers of Agriculture, for their collaboration in working towards achieving the goal of significantly reducing the region’s food import bill.