|Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer, Charleston Lucas, presented Sherry-Ann Allsopp with her greenhouse.(C.Pitt/BGIS)|
Natural Product Chemist, Sherry-Ann Allsopp, was presented with a greenhouse worth $3,000 by Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Charleston Lucas today.
The presentation took place at the Ministry’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church headquarters, where the greenhouse was erected. It was later disassembled and delivered to Mrs. Allsopp’s Ashdeane Village, Black Rock, St. Michael residence.
Mrs. Allsopp, whose career entails working with plants, won the Ministry of Agriculture’s Ministry Prize from this year’s Agrofest. It was awarded to the person who visited the Ministry’s tent during the exhibition and answered all of the questions on the quiz sheet correctly. Her name was drawn from over 200 entries.
Samuel Inniss of the Information Services Unit, explained that the idea behind the Ministry Prize was to give persons an incentive to get involved "in some kind of production" even at the backyard level. He added that the greenhouse, which measured nine feet wide, 18 feet long and eight feet high, was part of the Ministry’s protective agriculture system which aimed to protect plants from pests, wind and other dangers.
Mr. Lucas explained that the initiative was a means to cut down on the country’s high food import bill and to encourage healthier lifestyles.
"We know our food import bill is up around $600 million, which is very, very high and, therefore, we must make an effort to produce some of what we eat. This morning, I am very happy, on behalf of the Ministry, to present Mrs. Allsopp with this protective structure. We suffer a lot from lifestyle diseases… a lot of it is linked to inadequate nutrition and, therefore, we are hoping that persons would try to get into vegetable production which is needed in Barbados and which would help to prevent these diseases," the Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer stated.
Mrs. Allsopp said the greenhouse would be put to good use. "I am a Natural Products Chemist; I used to be responsible for collecting all of the different indigenous plants grown in Barbados and doing extractions to test for biological activity. I am interested, too, in a lot of medicinal herbs, basically the ones from Barbados. I use them for ethno-medicinal purposes. I like cooking so I am into the culinary herbs as well. I am also in the process of making a pepper cream using the active ingredient from Scotch Bonnet peppers – capsaicin. I have made teas mostly for my friends incorporating Barbadian plants. I’ll use this greenhouse to grow a lot of seedlings," the chemist said.
She also presented the Ministry with one of her home grown plants – the Moringa Oleifera – which she said was not only drought resistant but possessed a wealth of medicinal and health benefits.