Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, has deemed the Million Trees for 2020 Project “important”, as it will help the island to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change, while ensuring food security.
Speaking at the project’s launch at the Daryll Jordan Secondary School recently, Minister Weir said among the objectives was the planting of more indigenous fruits, noting that guavas, dunks and soursop were among the trees selected for the project.
He also indicated that increased fruit production could open the door for more entrepreneurial activity within the area of agro-business, as well as add to Barbados’ culinary offerings.
Using soursop as an example, the Minister stated: “At the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, we are leading the way in making sure that we highlight the soursop as Barbados’ medicinal fruit…but you must know that soursop is currently being used by vegetarians and vegans and it’s fried or grilled…and therefore this is a wonderful opportunity for us to introduce new menus within the hospitality sector.”
Supporting the call by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for Barbadians to play their part in the exercise, Minister Weir outlined the importance of having access to high quality nutritious foods.
“This is a very important exercise for us. An exercise that speaks to nutrition as well, and we have started the fight against hunger. We have started a programme in the Ministry to make sure that children have access to nutritious foods.
“But equally within the communities, if you are going to have access to nutritious foods then we must be able to produce the type of food that is necessary. So, we’ve asked our communities to join with us in the tree planting exercise to plant local fruits,” he said.
Minister Weir also told the students that increasing the number of trees on the island would be beneficial to the environment in several ways, including the stabilization of the soil in the Scotland District.