T-Minus and Counting to Develop a Food Security Strategy

Submitted by Readydone
How can we transform Barbados from sole reliance on services?

How can we transform Barbados from an uncomfortable reliance on services?

Next time you walk into a supermarket take a good look around and enjoy the experience, after all,  you are paying for it, the light bill,  the manager’s mortgage, all of it is coming out your pocket even though you think all you are buying is food. Very little of your money is used to pay for food, the most of it is for the convenience of getting the food to you.

If you had to run down a yardfowl every time you wanted eggs for breakfast or pluck a chicken every time you ate a snack box, I am sure most of us would be father-thin vegetarians. So we go to the supermarket for our food every month or so but how reliable is the supermarket? The short answer is it isn’t. Let me illustrate.

It takes 3 days for all the shelves to empty in every supermarket when there is a hurricane watch, 3 days tops, that is how long it would take for us to start feeling the effect if the supply of food was to halt. Then what? I hope you have a backup plan, I got my kitchen garden.

We at Baird’s Village picked our fight, it is to get people to grow some of their own food, we don’t want to upset your hectic lifestyle to grow a little bit of okras, but we want you to be conscious and aware of what is going on in the world and to show resilience. The big problem is that we don’t produce enough food. We think that the supermarket is always going to be the most cost effective solution to our needs, let me illustrate why this is about to change. It is called the 45th minute.

The world’s populations are growing at an exponential rate but our brains tend to see things within a linear context. To illustrate exponential growth, imagine you and all your loved ones are handcuffed to the top seats in the gymnasium and there is a drop of water on the floor. Now this drop of water is growing at a rate of doubling every minute (@1min=2drops @2min=4drops) How long before all of you drown? ……………………. 49mins, we tend to think linear like rain fall, but exponential is a different thing. The problem is that at 45min there is 2 feet of water in the gym and everybody chatting and waiting on the police or someone to bring help not worried about the water level at all. At 47min everybody is chewing off their hands but it too late.

China has a one child policy to try and curb this exponential growth, it is that serious, but it is nowhere else in the world, as more people are born the demand for food goes up and with it the prices, don’t sit around and think that a politician well help you get cheaper food, they want you to buy more so they can tax more. In the same way we get together and pay all the supermarket bills without noticing how the little 10c mark up on the okras makes it happen, we can notice how growing them same okras for free will help we get rid of the mortgage easier.

0 thoughts on “T-Minus and Counting to Develop a Food Security Strategy

  1. Let us simplify this. Typical Bajans will not worry about food until there is none to buy.

    However if people like Readydone and David using this blog can influence a few people maybe we can get more people to understand their situation.

    Forget about the rest of the world. Barbados could run out of forex and would not be able to buy imported food. That is a worse case scenario but possible.

    Growing vegetables and fruit in Barbados is not difficult.

    • Why do Barbadians have this pervasive approach to importation?

      What is the sense to it?

      What is the status of Minister Estwick’s medium term plan for agriculture?

    • This example shows if we as parents show our children the right path they will NOT depart from it.

      It’s not every day that a 9-year-old girl chastises the CEO of one of the world’s biggest fast-food chains.

      Yet that’s exactly what young Hannah Robertson did Thursday morning at McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting in Chicago. When the meeting opened up to questions, Hannah was first up at the mic with a pointed criticism.

      “It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time,” she told McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson.



  2. The kid is right, some kids in the US say MacDonalds before they could say Mummy or Daddy, it has been an epidemic for years.

  3. Say what you want about Arthur and his plea years ago to plantup the backyard, he continues to practice what he begged Bajans to do. A visit to his garden at West Terrace is a good news story.

  4. Of passing interest is another Chefette fastfood outlet to be opened at Welches. To its credit and unlike Subway and Burger King, it has not been wasting government’s time to maintain the tariff for processed meat at 184%.

  5. I am still trying to wrap my head around processed meat being imported to sell fast food, that is known to be questionable to ones health, in Barbados.

  6. @Readydone “If you had to run down a yardfowl every time you wanted eggs for breakfast ”

    Dear Readydone:

    If you want eggs for breakfast you do NOT run down the yard fowl. You quietly observe where the fowl goes to lay, and after she has laid her egg(s) then you raid the rest.

    However if you want to kill and eat the yard fowl, then it is correct to chase her and kill her.

    And the old fashioned country life doesn’t necessarily keep you thin. In my family, eating out of the same pot, same parents, some were chubby, and some were very thin.

  7. Many say that agriculture in Barbados is dead, and that we should let is stay dead.

    I say hunger is not dead.

    We all have to eat, every day, several times a day.

    Take note that those who rejoice in the death of agriculture in Barbados have the money to go elsewhere. They don’t have to care.But we have to care.

    We can’t depend on other people to feed us.

  8. Simple Simon…………..those idiots who are saying let agriculture stay dead have IQs that will never register on any scale, if agriculture stays dead and the government cannot afford to import food, the people will die.

  9. Vincent………….sometimes i wonder what happened to their critical thinking skills, how did it get lost in the mix.

  10. are you not a fishing nation, what is this about agriculture, you grew sugar cane I prefer fish to clod or goat invest in boats and fish those trinidadian waters since they are fishing in yours

  11. Vincent……………….the government truly did not believe things would turn out this way, they were waiting to carry on as usual without realizing that the world had made a very sudden shift.

  12. Lawson………….they cannot enter Trinidad’s waters, they will go to jail, there still is no fishing agreement after 5 years.

  13. Barbados is a GREAT place.
    Barbados is a Joy to live in.
    Barbados is real paradise.
    We just didnt keep it as we should have!
    One of the Major things troubling our patch in paradise,is that the keepers of Barbados do not know what they are doing or how to undo the mischeif they have already done.They are actors not real people ,they are no good for the job.
    Because in the World scheme of things we are simple people,we act simply and veiw things simply.
    I cannot make up my mind if we are too trusting or too stupid.
    I think I want to stay trusting even if it means I a little stupid as it sits well on my concience.
    “What profits a man who gains the World and loses his Soul”
    Well I ent hard up and I ent wealthy but my Soul intact.
    So I pretty happy.
    I ent got so many problems and I self sufficient,but I concern for the ones I love and then cos I a loving person I concern for everybody. What I have I share.
    The politicians are like a virus and a cancer in the end they gonna kill us all,but i see there ent one damn thing I/ we can do about it.
    So I get a nice “seabarf ” grow my provisions,keep the kitchen garden full.
    What set Barbados and Barbadians wrong is we tried to be what we ent.
    Bim is a small island and Barbadians are small island people,simple in the sense we do not NEED a complicated existence. That clever.
    People would die for what we got,they envy us .
    What are we doing trying to emulate them.???

  14. since barbados is almost trinidadian now it would seem that fishing there would be no problem.What concerned me about barbados food consumption is a few years ago I thought I read one company had almost a monopoly on importation (maybe barbados shipping and trading) and it struck me at the time this was a recipe for disaster, no competition, a license to print money.

  15. lawson the blacksmith…….always striking the NAIL on the head….a monopoly in dry goods and food…could not be more strategic.

  16. @ Dr. Love

    I put this loss SQUARELY to blame on the shoulders of greedy politicians….not a shoit less..

  17. BU at the time of sale signalled that BS&T was a strategic asset not because a retailer or distributor deserves such a label BUT because of its food distribution given our high level of food imports. We were told Barbados would benefit from economies of scale. YOU be the judge.

  18. Barbados can successfully cultivate foods North America cannot. The north has inclement weather that does not bother the south, namely Barbados: snow storms, blizzards, etc. There are an abundance of foods that grow successfully south, only south because they would not survive north. Cotton, sugar cane, some fruits and vegetables cannot and would not survive north. Barbados, thefore, should take advantage due to FACT that it has no natural resources and its tourim industry cannot be trusted.

  19. …the real difficult part to fathom…all ya see anybody doing anything different?…I heard of taxing barells. Is hard to believe…one of these days, you will wakeup to news that we having a name change …watch!

  20. @ Old Onion bags

    Agree, watch for a name change.

    MENE MENE TEKEL (Daniel/Old Testament) – Your days are numbered. Your [country} will be taken.

  21. Barbadians we need to act
    Tis is no joke, times gine be rough
    If you haven’t waste not a second more
    Food shortage beckonin at the door

    A stitch in time saves nine
    Find some seeds and begin to sow
    Belly to ya back aint no fun
    Kitchen gardenin is the way to go
    We shall lead by example
    And eat most we grow..

  22. In ottawa we have a large amt of people who live in highrises, or do not have the space or good soil for a garden so every year the govt makes availible plots of land and do the first turning of soil, they allow people to plant vegetables herbs etc. The people trade produce and ideas for best results between them and have a real community of gardeners. Older gardeners pass on their experience to the young before that knowledge is lost.From reading there seems to be vacant land owned by the govt. have they ever thought of, or do they do this?

  23. Ready Done,

    This is our definition for money: “money is a non-tradeable, non-consumable usable measurable physical commodity – and the ONLY one of its kind in the world – that carries denominations for purposes of its users paying for its uses out of their own incomes, payments and transfers”

    So, whatever commercial business transactions that all of us in Barbados are involved in, this is the fundamental situation: we are not paying for any goods and services, since these do not have any inherent money ( numbers) – they do not contain money.

    Instead, those of us who are involved in using money in commercial business transactions in this country are INDEED paying for the use of this money – and extremely dearly – with our incomes, payments and transfers, barring this money is taken by whomsoever to a financial institution and it is substantially used to represent savings/’investments’ there at.

    Meanwhile, those owners of those goods, resources and services that have not yet understood that when they are offering these said things for sale to or to be used by others of the public in Barbados, that at those points in time when the users of this money (the would be buyers or users of those goods, resources and services in some other terms) are really paying for the use of the people’s own money out of their remunerations at the same as they are transferring the use of money to the uses (barring their saving/investing it) of others ( the would be sellers providers of goods, resources and services in some other senses) – and are therefore not paying for those same goods or resources or services – that they ought to be made to understand that they are changing the ownership leasing etc rights to own to possess to lease to use over these things from one set of persons to another set over these particular goods, resources and services, even whilst there are no changes in the rights of ownership of money over money taking place but mere changes in the rights of possession rights of use of money over money from one set of persons to another set of persons.

    Note that money and non money goods are eternally seperate from each other and cannot be physically transformed into each other in the course of any such commercial business transactions!!


  24. Lawson………….there are hundreds upon hundreds of acres of land in Bim growing grass, the government was never interested in agriculture or food security, only tourism. St. John alone has over 100 acres just sitting there, River plantation in St. Philip…………..it is a disaster, everyone was more interested in paper money, not food protection.

  25. @ lawson

    We evolved from an agrarian genisis ….it should be second hand..from where I am, neigbours are tryin with all sorta vegetables…but we need Govt to jump in large scale…this we are not seein..why I don’t understand. When Benn was at the BAS ..his philosophy was more pos+….on becomin MOA..one would believe his inbreedin was in Btown…

  26. Vincent said:
    Vincent Haynes | May 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM |

    WW…..my post goes back 60 odd years……the sins….unto the 7th generation…

    Vincent…………every group on this earth regardless now who they are or whom they think they are will have to live with consequences, as we are now witnessing worldwide.

  27. @David and readers, for your information:
    The Economist focuses on the Caribbean—Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands—stating that Britain’s Caribbean dependencies have been hurt by economic stagnation, the war on tax havens and their own fiscal recklessness and corruption. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

    With or without the [McKeeva] Bush affair [the ousting of the premier of the Cayman Islands], corruption would have been high on the list of election issues in a society where “everybody expects that you are going into politics to make your money”, as a former auditor-general recently put it. But there is plenty more to worry Caymanians and the inhabitants of Britain’s other remaining scraps of empire in the Caribbean: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    Tourism and international finance have brought prosperity but the “twin pillars” are showing cracks. Fiscal fumbling has compounded the problem and has strained relations with Britain, which has long provided an economic backstop. The region’s two big tax havens, Cayman and the BVI, are under attack as never before. The world economic slowdown hit these small, open economies hard. Tourism, the biggest employer, has rebounded but remains below its peak in some places. [. . .] Finance, the biggest earner, is a mixed bag. Offshore shell-company registrations (a BVI speciality) are back near record levels. Hedge funds and banking (mostly Cayman) are down by 10-20%.

    [. . .] The Overseas Territories’ economic problems are not as severe as those of independent Jamaica and St Kitts and Nevis, which have had to restructure their debts. But the depletion of their reserve funds spooked Britain into imposing fiscal plans with borrowing limits last year. Negotiations have been difficult. Anguilla’s chief minister, Hubert Hughes, signed a pact last month, but not before accusing Britain of being “hell-bent on destroying the livelihood of the people”. He has called for an independence referendum.

    In some cases Britain has pushed for income taxes to supplement the fees and indirect taxes that the territories rely on. [. . .] Avoiding fee rises is seen as important at a time when tax havens are under bombardment, especially from Europe. The five territories, Bermuda and others have been arm-twisted into backing a multilateral scheme for the automatic exchange of tax information. [. . .]

    Offshore optimists note that China and Russia, whose citizens are big users of Caribbean havens, have not signed up to the information-sharing pact. But remaining attractive to clients while complying with ever more stringent international rules is “an increasingly difficult needle to thread”, says Andrew Morriss of the University of Alabama. No wonder the territories are trying to diversify away from finance, which in the BVI’s case accounts for 60% of government revenues. Anguilla is looking at fishing, Cayman toying with medical tourism. But hip replacements will not be as lucrative as hedge funds.

    For full article, see http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21578418-britains-caribbean-dependencies-have-been-hurt-economic-stagnation-war-tax-havens-and?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/treasureislandsintrouble
    ivetteromero | May 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Tags: The British Caribbean, Treasure Islands | Categories: News | URL: http://wp.me/psnTa-fl9
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  28. Alvin………….tell your people in the DLP they have to diversify away from finance, it is a trap.

  29. Readydone,

    In our definition of money (above), it can be absolutely logically concluded that money cannot be used by anybody to pay for/to be used as any payment for/as any medium of exchange.

    In this world, nobody can use money to pay for/ as a payment for anything/to exchange with anything, whatever the commercial business transactions.

    The fact that human beings cannot use apples to pay for/ as payments for oranges, or vice-a-versa, is right in a system of the production and allocation of choices in human society where individuals must consume what is produced, generally.

    The fact that human beings can exchange apples for the oranges of other human beings, vice-a-versa, is right in a system of exchange of choices ( possible only for physical goods), where humans as individuals can only provide a little if anything at all of what they consume at most.

    Therefore, the fact that no human being can use money – a physical commodity like apples/oranges are – to pay for/ to be payments for apples/oranges of some other human beings is right in a system of the production and allocation of choices.

    And, therefore, the fact that no human being can exchange money with the apples/oranges of some others is also right in a system of exchange( possible only for physical commodities).

    What generally help to drive these systems though is the inseperably axiomatic and fundamental relationships that human beings have between money and income, payments, and transfers (nominal) and between money and its uses in a money income, payments, transfers system.

    And what generally help to drive these systems are the inseperably axiomatic and fundamental relationships that human beings have between these commodities and their uses in a system of production and distribution of goods.


  30. @Well Well
    I don’t have to tell anyone enything. There are “experts” both in and out of Government that give advice to the government. In any case I am sure that the relevant authorities read BU. Whether they take the advice or not is heir business. I still keep saying that we can grow and export food produce. Went to Seneca (US.) yesterday saw a burger house advertising “Sweet potato chips” and Hamburger $3.27. I have been advocating growing sweet potatoes for expert. Last year I went to Cuba. they do not import “English” potatoes. All their chips are from sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are sold in supermarkets here, coming from Mexico we can compete in price. Yesterday also came across a drink made in New Your under the label Marlees (with the photo of Bob Marley on it. The drink was a mixture of green tea and lemonade. Bottled in New York. Need I say more? Some of our small entrepreneurs sell energy drinks, incorporating sea moss, oats and ginceng, anmong other things. Why cant they be produced on a larger scale and sold (marketed) world wide: After patenting or trade marking the product. Energy drinks sell well, and if they are marketed well to health stores, fitness clubs and such places there is another product for export.

  31. Alvin………they will only laugh at you, i saw sweet potatoes at loblaws yesterday, imported, expensive as hell. No one in barbados is interested in exports, they just want tourist dollars, they would starve before they try to produce and export.

  32. The whole of MOA needs shaking up….if the relevant authorities are reading BU as suggested..somebody want a lash in the backside….you know how many articles from BU were written BEGGING for a restart of agriculture by this DLP admin…and not a shoite….So what more can we do…Min. Estwick went on air back in October saying he had 5 John Deers on order ..now we realise it was just an elections gimmick….

  33. Good initiative by the authorities to pay for bread fruits. It seems we are moving towards producing flour from sweet potato, cassava and bread fruits. Long overdue!

  34. @Old Onion Bags.
    How appropriate a name for you. You know what Bajans do with old onion bags? they discard them. You are antiDLP. How come your government NEVER made an effort to try to diversify agriculoture, but supported the import culture, and even facilitated the sale of BS&T. Why couldn’t your government have purchased the majority shares when BS&T went up for sale, and pay to manage the distributive sector, so vital in a society that depends on imports for its food supply.

  35. @Well Well,
    What Bajans don’t realize is that the Bajan Sweet potato (the white one) is far superior in texture to the potato grown in Mexico and Jamaica (Yellow). When cooked the bajan sweet potato maintains its texure and taste. the other kinds turn soft. That is a marketing advantage, to be marketed and demonstrated.

  36. @ Alvin

    ….the name old onion bags can also refer to the netting between the goal post in a football game Alvin…not just red nettin bags in which onions are imported. You are too myopic with yourself just like the discussion going on in another thread ….deposits-funds-reserves May- shall – must…..semantics .. in wild syntax whirl…Hidden agenda? ..we await

    Have you ever heard of the Giant Cycloyps Alvin?….he only had one eye and even that (one eye) was taken away by a vigilant Odysesses…..

  37. @ Alvin
    Why couldn’t your government have purchased the majority shares when BS&T went up for sale, and pay to manage the distributive sector, so vital in a society that depends on imports for its food supply.
    It would have been even better if the credit unions were ‘able’ to purchase those shares, but nay

  38. Wow i must say i am very pleased with the responses in this blog, it shows that i am not alone in my thinking that some more needs to be done with agriculture, the varied responses sure helping me to change my viewpoint in the now, “not so” seemingly insurmountable battle. I haven’t gotten a chance to read all the comments and i will at lunch today and add my responses. also was now made aware of the notify of new comments via emall (to blackberry), so from now on i should be way more speedy with my replies.

    Thanks Well well.
    Where is Pat?
    All others thanks for the comments keep them coming…….its very encouraging.

  39. @ David | May 26, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Sweet potato chips were being sold in Barbados for some time now being imported by PriceMart out of the USA.

    The question is how is the local variety is going to compete successfully with the imported brand.
    Will Bajans be loyal for once and buy local?
    Will RPB’s song “Home Drums Beat First” ring a bell in the people’s ears or are they prepared to waste forex on imported food that can be provided locally at reasonable cost and even taste fresh and better?
    What about stimulating the local economy instead of making other people rich?

  40. I recently bought a local honey dew melon and it was awful, young and no taste at all. I told the man who was selling it that they were not good because the farmers were picking them too young and that melons have to be vine ripened. He told me that a Honeydew melon is not a sweet melon. I told him that he was incorrect and that they are very sweet melons, well he argued with me that I was wrong. i told him that as a consumer I was giving him some valuable feedback about his product and that he should listen to me. To cut a long story short I told him that he is selling rubbish to people and that he should read up on how to harvest honeydew melons. He told me they were selling to the restaurants and hotels and that they were buying them. If that is the mindset of the small black businessman then there is no hope.

  41. @Miller

    If there is a comment by the country read all stakeholder, we can do it. Media blitz, retailers/distributors agree to price strategy, BDF/Police used to patrol/enforce farmers, government can look at intervening in the market by running a Mart to sell vegetables at good price until market demand is fired up. We have to go ballistic in strategy.

    @Onions and Green Monkey, your submissions received.

  42. @ islandgal246 | May 29, 2013 at 8:40 AM |
    “If that is the mindset of the small black businessman then there is no hope”

    So true!
    Every piece of constructive advice is taken as some personal attack on them or stopping them from making a living or getting rich.

    This scenario, I hate to say, is also played out on the political field where constructive criticism or advice is seen as an attack on the ruling party and you are automatically deemed as an enemy of the their State.

    When will we ever learn as a people who must work together ever, more than ever in this country, to survive and overcome what is right before us and blocking our path to further

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