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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Shelley Carrington. (G. Brewster/BGIS)

The Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture must work collaboratively in the island’s quest to pursue more greening initiatives as a means of achieving sustainability and financial viability.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Shelley Carrington, made this observation yesterday, while addressing a workshop on Mainstreaming Consumption and Production in the Restaurant Sub-Sector at the Dining Club, Building No. 11, Newton Industrial Park, Christ Church.

She noted that since government had signaled its intention to pursue the implementation of a green economy, the two ministries, in collaboration with its allies, must take the lead in this regard.

"The Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture must be inextricably linked in any vision of a greener, more sustainable Barbados, and we invite our stakeholders from both ministries to appreciate this core ideal," Ms. Carrington added.

The Permanent Secretary also said that the forces of climate change not only posed a threat to our food supply and security, it also had implications for the availability of water resources.

As drought levels intensified globally, Ms. Carrington cautioned that commodity prices will increase and as a result, "producers will seek to satisfy their local markets first and foremost".

"From one perspective, there is a valid concern for food scarcity.?? On the other hand, there is anxiety about the burden of burgeoning food import costs. Our food import bill has reached unsustainable levels for a Small Island Developing State and can be attributed in large part, to the penchant of the local population’s acquired taste for foreign foods and delicacies," she underlined.

Cognisant of the restaurant sub-sector’s contribution to this country’s tourism product, Ms. Carrington alluded to stepped-up efforts to cultivate a greater appetite for local cuisine among tourists.

One way this might be achieved, she said was through more fiscal support for national farmers’ organisations to facilitate an increase in agricultural production for domestic and export markets.

"From the perspective of the tourism sector, the ability to showcase and serve the flavours of authentic local foods to our guests denote pride in local cuisine and culture and promotes the culinary experience for which many persons travel to experience," the Permanent Secretary emphasised.

She also stated: "The challenge for restaurateurs, caterers, suppliers and all operators in the food industry is to continue to achieve economic success whilst improving environmental and social performance. At its core, sustainable consumption and production is doing more and better with less."

The two-day workshop ended today.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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