A call has been made for Barbados to invest more in its agricultural sector thus positioning it at the forefront of the island???s economic development.

The appeal has come from Barbados??? Ambassador to China, Chelston Brathwaite who stated that if Barbados was to move forward ???we have to put money in agriculture???. He made these comments in Xiamen, China, following a tour of the Yinlu agro-processing company.

Yinlu, a company started by six persons from the Matang Village, Xiamen, in 1985 with a RMB 30,000 (US $5,000) investment has grown into a multimillion dollar, vertically integrated enterprise, providing jobs for more than 15,000 persons in its five production bases in Xiamen, Shandong, Hubei, Anhui and Sichaun.

The company utilises agricultural output from its surrounding community under a Cooperative arrangement to produce peanut milk and Congee and protein beverages and has partnered with international brand, Nestle, to produce its coffee lattes and smoothies.

Taking note of the company???s operating model, Government???s support and the incentives from which the company has benefitted, Ambassador Brathwaite said: ???There are lessons to be learnt here and what has been done in this country [china] is exactly what needs to be done in Barbados.???

Yinlu, with total annual output expected to reach Six million tons by 2015, and its annual sales of RMB 1 billion, has won numerous awards and accolades and has emerged as one of China???s top 10 enterprises in the canned food and beverages industry. And, according to Mr. Brathwaite, this suggests that ???finding a niche and finding a need are key???.

The visit to Yinlu is part of the three-week trade and economic seminar arranged for a 20-member Barbadian delegation of public and private sector enterprises by Beijing???s Academy for International Business Officials.


Author: BIDC/Theresa Blackman

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