Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, believes that Barbados must seek to develop and promote a culture of applied research if local agricultural production is to be boosted.

Speaking during a recent interview, he said Barbados had the human resources required to take such a step, maintaining that within his Ministry, the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC), and the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC), there were very qualified scientists and technologists who were capable of carrying out research at the highest levels.

"What we have to do now is to create, develop and promote a culture where evidence-based research is used to drive production. That teaching, that type of cross fertilisation must occur," Dr. Estwick stressed.

He added that to carry out this process, the extension services of the Ministry of Agriculture would have to be "taken to another level", employing information and communication technology to reach a younger target audience, and hiring specialised officers.

"There is no reason why we cannot utilise the internet more effectively. The young farmers can access the information and google it [or even] visit our website and access that data. Now, that is moving the Ministry in a framework so as to drive young agriculturalists to get involved in this industry. Without a doubt this is a big area for us and we are going to push it as much as we can," Dr. Estwick concluded.

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