Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, is seen here planting one of the fruit trees donated by his Ministry to the Nature Fun Ranch yesterday. (M. Rollock/BGIS)

Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, recently sowed seeds which will allow the youngsters at Nature Fun Ranch, Bruce Vale, St. Andrew, to start a long-anticipated orchard, comprising local fruit trees.

Mr. Forde, through his Ministry, donated 50 fruit trees in the first instance to start the orchard, which is a few acres in size. The Ministry also donated ploughing services to the ranch to help start the tree planting exercise.

A range of fruit trees, including papaya, golden apples, hog plums, soursop and pomegranates, were planted at the ranch yesterday morning.

Minister Forde said the venture was symbolic “of what Government has been asking every Barbadian to be a part of”, namely its initiative to plant one million trees. He added that trees saved lives not only by mitigating the threat of global warming but also by reducing the country’s food import bill and adding to its food security.

“There are a multiplicity of reasons [why we need trees]. The most important thing is that the active players are the young people you see around today. They must understand the importance of planting that one tree which will save the lives of the next generation. Trees have many uses…. [They] sequester carbon dioxide, provide shade, take dust from the atmosphere and take the harmful nitrates and phosphates [from the soil] … The uses of trees go on and on.

“This is the first launch for me as new Minister in the Million Trees drive. I would like to plant a million and one trees if I could. We’ve had the unfortunate episode of the COVID-19 pandemic which stopped a lot of activities not only in a small country like Barbados but across the world. I am happy to recommit this entire Government to the tree planting exercise, recognising of course that there is a new maxim called ‘Trees Save Lives’,” he explained.

He also thanked Director of the ranch, Corey Lane, and the young people who will be working on the project. Mr. Forde pointed out that while the youngsters may be deemed by society as deviant, they were being taught “the tenets of discipline, hard work, selflessness and dedication to effort”.

Minister Forde said the orchard being created at the Nature Fun Ranch would help towards reducing the country’s food import bill and add to its food security. ​(M. Rollock/BGIS)

“These are young persons who understand the importance of planting food to help feed themselves,” he emphasised, adding:

“We are going to partner with agencies like Nature Fun Ranch because we as a Government believe that once you are doing the right thing, we will walk hand in glove and side by side as it relates to your efforts.”

Deputy Manager of Nature Fun Ranch, Anthony Gill, in turn thanked the Minister for his assistance.

“I want to thank you for involving us in this project and giving us the orchard we were looking to build for quite some time now. Thank you for the donation of trees, the ploughing of the land and we will be sure to maintain the property. We will be looking to reap some success from the trees. It will be a good source of sustainability for the ranchers and their families,” he stated.

The Environment Minister also announced a tree planting project and competition for primary and secondary schools, in which every child will be asked to plant trees. He disclosed that the student who planted the most trees at both the primary and secondary levels would receive a laptop as the main prize.

Additionally, Mr. Forde noted that the school (primary and secondary) which had the best or most aesthetically pleasing garden would win $1,000. The prizes, he said, would be awarded in December 2020.

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