Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, sampling the pork from Adrian Bailey of Dr. Phil’s kitchen. (S. Austin/BGIS)

Government intends to work with the co-operative movement to enhance its growth and prosperity.

Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, gave this commitment today as she addressed the A Village-A-Fair, at the Church Village Green, Central Bank, Church Village, St. Michael, to observe International Day of Co-operatives.

Ms. Husbands said: “We will do this by creating and implementing policies geared towards business facilitation, especially for small businesses…. We therefore assure the co-operative movement that one of the key commitments of Government is to unlock the potential of co-operatives as vehicles that can lead to the achievement of inclusive economic growth.”

The Minister indicated that some consideration must be given to grant funding as part of the financing arsenal for co-operatives which might need a boost to implement certain initiatives.

Without such practical support, she proffered, the goal of providing economic empowerment to people across Barbados would not be achieved.

“Together, we must strive to empower our co-operatives and provide an enabling environment that gives them capacity to operate successfully in the domestic, regional and international markets,” she said.

Ms. Husbands encouraged the financial co-operatives to assume a greater role in assisting the non-financial co-operative sector in its call for financial and other types of support.

She suggested that if the principle of cooperation among co-operatives was carried out, these partnerships within the financial and non-financial sectors would redound to the growth and development of micro and small businesses in Barbados.

She expressed the view that there was room for growth and more diversity, especially in the non-financial co-operative sector.

“I suggest that there is a need for cooperatives to be established in areas such as the provision of care facilities for the young and elderly. I am sure that there are thousands of persons in the co-operative movement who have a challenge finding adequate care facilities for their children, ageing parents and relatives,” Ms. Husbands stated.

Queen Asheba Trotman of Pinnacle Agricultural Co-operative Society Limited receiving a certificate of registration from Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands. (S. Austin/BGIS)

The Minister urged Barbadians to continue to support the co-operatives. She opined that the agri-food sector, including the agricultural co-operatives, must strive to work closely together to meet the challenges due to increasing demand for food, arising from global conflicts such as the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“As recent as June 5th, 2022, our Prime Minister the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley sat down with the farming community in Barbados and asked them to come up with a strategy to reduce food imports, help out with food security and provide and grow more food for the Barbadian population.

“Therefore, farming co-operatives such as Addis Alem, Farm Connect, Pinnacle, Barbados Pig Farmers, St. George Farmers and Ujamaa will be part of this national thrust,” she said.

During the brief opening ceremony, certificates of registration were presented to Queen Asheba Trotman of Pinnacle Agricultural Co-operative Society Limited and John Yarde of Organic Growers Co-operative Society Limited.

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