Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, speaking to a vendor while on tour on the Eagle Hall Market today. (S.Forde/BGIS)

Markets falling under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security should soon receive upgrades to their infrastructure and some improved security.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, indicated this today, while on tour of the Six Roads and Eagle Hall Markets.

He said: “We have a number of markets that fall under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and I have to find the time to make sure that we visit all of them so that I can understand first-hand the issues that are taking place within the markets … to look and see how we can help the vendors, but equally make the facilities more user-friendly.”

Minister Weir stated that the markets provide an opportunity for Government to carry out its objectives in terms of empowerment and enfranchisement of people, and to ensure that vending is treated as a way of doing business. He added Government would seek to give any support that it could to enhance the vending community.

The main issues highlighted at both markets pertained to security and infrastructure, as well as the parking systems, opening hours, maintenance, dust control and operational costs.

Stating that his Ministry would be addressing the issues, Minister Weir said that they had to ensure that people could come to the markets in a very safe and comfortable environment.

He added that the Manager of Markets and the Permanent Secretary would “sit down and work out a comprehensive plan to devise the solutions necessary to bring the markets into a contemporary existence”.

With respect to operational costs, Mr. Weir said: “The operating costs at the markets must come down and in order for that to be achieved we need to look at a system of renewable energy, where we either look to go the route of solar panels or some other form of renewable energy to help drive the cost down.”

When asked if agriculture would be a viable avenue of entrepreneurship for retrenched government workers, Minister Weir pointed out that the Ministry’s Food Enfranchisement and Empowerment Drive programme, under the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, would do whatever it could to assist retrenched workers.

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