Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick (FP)??

A Government Minister has stressed the need for innovation in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors, as a means of improving their efficiency and production output.

Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, intimated this while addressing the Innovation Competition Awards Ceremony, recently. The event was held at Hilton Barbados.

Underscoring the importance of innovation in agriculture, he said these novel practices were necessary to militate against natural disasters. "Most of us are aware of climate change and its impact. These conditions can have an adverse effect on the agricultural sector and hamper food production.

"As a result, farmers should be trained properly and provided with newer technologies and cropping patterns in order to cope. Clearly, these responses will require innovative solutions," Dr. Estwick asserted.

The Economic Affairs Minister also advised manufacturers to not only find ways to create new products, but also, come with innovative ideas to serve their markets. "Like all Small Island Developing States, Barbados is facing the challenge of mobilising financial resources in the face of competing needs such as poverty alleviation and the preservation of the environment.?? Thus, our resources are not finite.?? However, a way has to be found to finance and encourage innovative pursuits.

Dr. Estwick also spoke of Government’s efforts to assist businesses to be innovative and alluded to the consolidation of "venture capital windows" into one central agency and the creation of a Ministry of Innovation.

He pledged continued support to the National Innovation Competition, which started in 2003, and promised to maintain the existing Innovation Fund and expand its support activities in the area of research and development.

Evariste and Dorothy Nurse, the creators of the Secure Door Jamb, walked away with the Prime Minister’s Award and the top cash prize of $75,000.?? Second place went to Randolph Sandiford, for his Matrix Sugar Cane textured furniture finish made from local grass; while Dr. Robert Lucas’ Bio-degradable Food Packaging; Fernando Hood’s Knock Guard and Trevor Clarke’s Sitter; placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

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