Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has underscored the importance of agriculture, saying it is ???too critical to be left to chance???.

Mr. Stuart shared his views yesterday when the new Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Ena Harvey, paid him a courtesy call at Ilaro Court.

He gave her the assurance that Barbados was committed to the development of that sector, saying that ???agriculture is at the base of everything???.

Prime Minister Stuart congratulated Mrs. Harvey on her appointment and wished her a successful tour of duty.

Mrs. Harvey said IICA would be transitioning to its new medium-term plan and focusing on achieving results. She identified work with the youth and the Barbados Black Belly Sheep as IICA???s priority areas for this country.

According to her, the entire animal could be used in the commercial value chain, and she disclosed that a meeting would be held with the stakeholders so that a strategic plan for the Black Belly Sheep could be rolled out in 2015.

While discussing the involvement of young people in agriculture, she pointed out that some progress was being made.?????The signs are very positive??? we need to make agriculture exciting and attractive to the young, while using technology to assist,??? she suggested. She added that women were making strides in the sector and were empowering themselves in agribusiness.

During the extensive discussions, Mrs. Harvey said the Caribbean agriculture model was seen as one that the Pacific Islands, which are part of the small island developing states (SIDS), could follow. Prime Minister Stuart added that the SIDS regions must work together and share information.

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