The Ministry of Agriculture is playing its part in assisting with the drainage woes currently plaguing the island, through the offer of a new farming incentive.
According to Dr. Dennis Blackman, Senior Agricultural Officer, and the person in
charge of the Agricultural Services Unit, a new and “extremely important” incentive for farmers pertaining to the clearing of drainage wells had been implemented.
“It is extremely important because, as you have seen in Barbados in the last few
months, we have had a problem with excessive water on the roads…because water is not being properly channeled into drainage wells,” he noted.
“We’ve established an incentive and we’re very happy to see that farmers are responding by sending in their receipts for cleaning these wells,” Dr. Blackman disclosed. “We hope that all, especially those with large acreages, the big plantations and large farms, will take advantage of this particular incentive since we want to ensure that we don’t get undue soil loss during times of high rainfall,” he added.
Pointing out that the Unit had already started to receive applications for this particular incentive, he said other incentives were also in place for the installation of water ways and windbreaks, which would better allow farmers to manage their crops.
With some 400 applications having been processed by the Unit during the last financial year, Dr. Blackman said from all indications it was expected that a similar figure would be received in this financial year.
“It makes us feel good to know that farmers are still responding quite well. Of course, we are visiting them to ensure that they are bona fide farmers, but we have definitely seen an increase in the number of applicants (for incentives) and registration.”
In outlining the farmer registration process, the Senior Agricultural Officer indicated that the first thing one had to do was to come to the Ministry’s headquarters at Graeme Hall, Christ Church, and complete an application form, after which he/she would be photographed and processed for his/her farmer’s Identification Card.
“However, before we give the ID we will visit the farm to make sure that the person is a bona fide farmer and that all the information submitted is accurate in terms of land size, et cetera. Once that checks out, an ID card will be issued and the person will be free to apply for the assistance,” he underlined.
The agricultural services spokesman noted that a document was given to each farmer who comes to apply which explained “exactly what the farmer has to do in order to receive an incentive, whether it is a concession, a grant, a rebate or a loan.”