|Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King (FP)|
The farming community is being encouraged to make better use of the agricultural incentives and rebates offered by government.
This appeal has come from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King, who was speaking during the opening ceremony of a seminar entitled The Right to Food last week at UN House, Marine Gardens, Christ Church.
He said his Ministry had developed incentives aimed at moving the sector towards the utilisation of new technologies, improved postharvest handling and new farming systems such as greenhouses, shade houses and hydroponic systems.
Mr. King believed that such initiatives could augur well for the local agricultural sector and by extension, promote growth in the economy while providing access to local, fresh and nutritious food.
"These practices will encourage sectoral growth through increased production levels, and ensuring that there are adequate levels of safe, nutritious locally produced foods available to Barbadians. Increased production levels will potentially generate additional activity in the agro-processing sector, leading to increased employment and essentially create an environment where citizens have greater access to food and the economic means to attain it.
"The Ministry of Agriculture believes that this suite of incentives, once accessed by the farming community, can promote an increase in local food production that will make available healthy, nutritious foods to the Barbadian public that will help us on our journey towards building a healthy nation", the Permanent Secretary said.
He added that the Ministry would also work to encourage more persons to undertake family farming including backyard farming.
Presently, there are 26 categories of agricultural incentives and rebates – a total of 101 – provided to farmers. In addition, there are 97 areas for the farming community to access up-front duty-free concessions for agricultural inputs.