The St. George Farmers??? Marketing Co-Operative Society Limited has been lauded for its dedication to and support of the agriculture sector in Barbados for the past 30 years.
This praise came from Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who was delivering the feature address at the Cooperative???s 30th anniversary dinner and awards ceremony at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, last Saturday evening.
Mr. Brathwaite said that for any organisation, 30 years in business was a significant feat.
He added that those involved in the cooperative should be extremely proud of the role they have played in the building of Barbados??? agricultural sector.??The Attorney General encouraged the members of the Cooperative to continue their ???good work???, and also urged them to find a way to bring more young people into the sector.
???Not as many young Barbadians as we would like are getting into farming. We need to make it attractive; we need to ensure that they can see a career and we have to show them that it is financially viable,??? he added.
Mr. Brathwaite said he believed that in order for agriculture to survive in Barbados, farmers needed to continue to support each other and collaborate to produce more products, as they may be able to achieve more together than individually.
President of the Cooperative, Marcina Mottley, said that over the past 30 years, the Co-operative faced a number of challenges, some of which almost caused the organisation to close. She explained that it was only through the dedication of its members that the organisation was able to survive.
???The road was not always easy for the Co-Operative, and on at least two occasions the business almost collapsed. However, these challenges were overcome by members who were willing to work hard, make sacrifices and hold fast to a vision of small black farmers owning and operating their own vegetable market.
???On many occasions, these unique individuals put their money where their mouths and hearts were and provided loans to the Society when necessary. They breathed much needed life into the institution, which has evolved into one in which they can be proud of today.
“They have in fact made the Co-operative a successful model for other farmers Co-operatives to follow. In fact, I am proud to say that the St. George Farmers??? Marketing Co-Operative Society Ltd is the leading non -financial Co-op in Barbados, being one of three vegetable farming Co-ops on the island,??? she indicated.
Ms. Mottley revealed that currently, the Co-op provides marketing opportunities for over 75 small farmers within St. George and its environs. She disclosed that the organisation had undertaken projects which would assist in the accurate and timely recording and reporting of farmer???s information, and that it was also working on standards and policies.
The St. George Farmer???s Marketing Co-op Society Ltd was established on March 19, 1985, and the farmers??? market was opened on June 27 of that year.