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Farmers are being encouraged to keep good business records.
This advice has come from Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer, Crop Production, Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. Dennis Blackman, who lamented that this was a weakness of many farmers in Barbados, who quite often are unaware of their expenditure and by extension, their profit margins.
He, therefore, urged them to keep track of their finances since investment was a critical aspect of farming.
"Some farmers do not know how much it costs to establish any system… They do not know how much they have spent in a year… whether it is using cultivation services or purchasing chemicals. If you ask them how much they have spent in a particular year, they do not know. You have to keep good records of your expenditure and your income. If you do that, it is very simple to calculate your cost of production and your profits," he observed.
Dr. Blackman was speaking during the third in a series of farmers’ workshops on How to Build Tropical Row Covers at Brereton, St. Philip last Friday.
The aim of the workshops, which are a collaborative effort between the Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment and Drainage, is to demonstrate the benefits of using row covers and how to construct them. Demonstration trials of six row covers each will be set up at five locations originally and used as a basis for training.
Tropical row covers, which may be described as low-cost greenhouse technology, are protective materials used to shield crops from harsh elements including cold, wind and damage from insects.
Dr. Blackman also called on more farmers to share information about their experiences using agricultural technology with the ministry and their colleagues, noting that this would benefit the sector greatly.??
"Farmers in Barbados are well educated and will take this technology [row covers] and adapt it. They will find cheaper ways of doing it…I would like to encourage you to find cheaper and better ways of building this technology, so they will be a relationship between the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmers. We will give you what information we have and in turn, when you adapt, develop and improve upon the technology, you can come back to us and say ???This is what I have done. I have made it a little better’. So, we hope to have that open dialogue between farmers and ourselves," Dr. Blackman said.