Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, is calling on supermarkets and hotels to give more support to the local agricultural industry.

He said that right now Barbados was not earning enough to support its high $700 million food import bill, adding that a country that could not make a valiant attempt to feed itself was a country ??? that is not going to do well??? .

The Minister made these comments this morning at the product launch for Sunbury Harvest, a food manufacturing plant in St. Philip.

Mr. Inniss said: ???We have a tendency in this country to believe that whatever is foreign is good and this mindset really has to change.??? He added that local supermarkets ???need to ??? start displaying Barbadian products [more] prominently,??? as he believed there was a strong linkage between the ownership of some of these facilities and ???where the goods that are more prominently displayed are coming from???.

???I???m not saying to stop anything coming from Trinidad or Jamaica or wherever as Barbadians must have choices, but if you have a local product that is of good quality, of good price competitively, why must that product be buried in the back of a supermarket shelf?

???We have to have a sense of pride in this country that tells us that things that are Barbadian must be given the necessary level of prominence, and I do not think this is anything we need to apologise for. I???m not saying do not bring things from abroad, I am just saying let the playing field be level,??? he charged.

Further outlining another way of supporting local produce, Mr. Inniss candidly stated that the local hotel sector must ???stop begging for handouts and asking for concessions and start doing more to help the local industry???.

Pointing out that the evidence was quite clear, the Industry Minister said that when he frequents the hotels in this country he was amazed at the lack of local food items that were ???well prepared and well presented for persons to consume.”

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