Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Haynesley Benn

Modern farm operations and cutting-edge technology will be on display next Monday, October 13, when Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Haynesley Benn, leads a stakeholders’ tour of six of the island’s top dairy, vegetable and livestock farms.

According to Acting Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer (Livestock), Charleston Lucas, the aim is to expose those stakeholders, who interface with the Ministry of Agriculture, to modern farm operations, in an effort to facilitate more informed decision making and greater collaboration.

“Many of these agencies do not have direct contact with farms. The idea is to expose them to good, high-level operations so that when persons approach them for loans, or we make requests for sub-divisions or any other matters pertaining to agriculture, they can better appreciate what actually goes on at these farms,” he explained.

The Barbados Water Authority; the Ministry of Finance; Town and Country Planning Department; the Environmental Protection Department; Barbados 4H Foundation and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic are among participating organisations.

The tour departs the Ministry of Agriculture’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church, headquarters at 9:00 a.m. for Walkers Dairy Farm in St. George, its first stop. There, stakeholders will witness, a modern dairy operation. The tour is schedule to leave Walkers at 10: 00 a.m.

The second stop will be at Brighton Plantation, St. George, where, according to Mr. Lucas, participants will see “intensive vegetable production under greenhouse conditions.”  The farm also operates the popular Farmers’ Market. The touring party is scheduled to depart Brighton at 10:50 a.m.

The third farm to be  visited  will  be  at Kendal Plantation in  St. John,  where  members of the party will observe  modern Black Belly Sheep production, as well as a  contemporary  milking  parlour  and fully  computerised dairy farm operations. The team is scheduled to arrive at Kendal at 11:10 a.m. and depart at 11:50 a.m.

Nature’s Produce Inc., Farm Road, St. Peter, will be the next scheduled stop. Lettuce and other organically grown produce, earmarked for the hotel sector and other niche markets, are expected to be on display.

The tour continues to Barnwell Farms in St. Thomas, which has one of the island’s most modern pig facilities. The last stop Hydro Grow Farms Inc, at Strong Hope, St. Thomas, is a 10 acre farm which features vegetable production under greenhouse conditions.

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