UWI, Cave Hill to LEAD the Charge to Revive Agriculture Sector

The press report did not list minister of Agriculture David Estwick as among the officials present when the announcement was made this week by Professor Eudene Barriteau.

Professor Eudene Barriteau, Principal of the UWI, Cave Hill campus committed the Cave Hill campus to developing 30 acres of land that was donated to the university by the Edghills of Dukes plantation in St. Thomas a couple years ago. According to the report USD34 million will be spent to develop an agri-business creating 1500 jobs, a break from the trend of planting concrete on arable land in Barbados. Further, the entity will be designed to facilitate training and research for the Caribbean region. One could hear the enthusiasm for the venture by Principal Barriteau as she shared details about what promises to be a transformative project.

The project is to kickoff mid-next year!

She said the project, which is expected to take about two years to complete, would also accelerate the thrust towards greater self-sustainability in food production and food security with a significant portion of the almost 30 acres of land being set aside as agricultural parcels for farming. In addition, the park will accommodate agro-processing and meat-curing facilities, a chocolate manufacturing and training facility, cotton processing facilities, a food standards laboratory, a sewerage plant treatment and recreational spaces…

The project is being funded by the Government of Barbados through its bilateral aid programme with the People’s Republic of China.

Barbados Today

This is good news indeed to observe the premier learning institution in Barbados leading the charge to resuscitate the agriculture sector. The economic pundits have all slammed the door of Barbados pursuing agriculture because of high production costs. We will monitor the debate with interest.

106 comments

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Simple Simon October 12, 2017 at 2:11 PM
    “@Hal Austin 4:37 yesterday. Actually most countries forbid the keeping of chickens and pigs in densely populated areas because of the dangers of influenza transmission from pigs and fowl to people. That said Barbados is self sufficient in chicken, both for local and visitor consumption..”

    So how come you did not find those backyard farming activities dangerous when you were growing up in those halcyon good old days of no need for “motta” cars only Federal or Rocklyn wooden-bus transport?

    What happens when persons become unemployed through no fault of their own and do not want to go on public assistance either out of pride or fiscal considerations (sucking too hard on the taxpayers’ nipples)?

    Should they just up sticks and walk to the countryside to raise chickens and rabbits to obtain a first-hand source of protein? Or would you prefer them to give the better-off from the Heights, Terraces and Gardens blow jobs on Bush Hill or sell their donkeys in town for a Chefette or KFC snack box?

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  • Simple Simon,
    Not most countries. Most developed countries. Even that is questionable. Urban farms are very popular with school children in London.

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  • Yes Hants. I was aware of the Toronto decision. But please note that there will be frequent inspections and that Toronto has the capacity to carry out such inspections. No miller your suggestions add nothing positive to the discussion. Hal I should have said many countries not all or most. But the reason still stands. It is a flu prevention strategy. However yes indeed some, many, maybe most?bajans are poor great poppets.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Simple Simon October 12, 2017 at 7:18 PM

    Simple S, you still have not addressed the ‘burningly’ hungry issue of the unemployed and others not in receipt of a steady source of income having access to ready sources of protein other than through praedial larcency.

    Would you then settle for the keeping of rabbits with those living in the ‘terraces and gardens’ having to turn their manicured lawns into warrens and vegetable beds thereby killing two birds with one hoe or fork?

    These questions are posed in the sincerest of manner given what is happening with people either unable to find work or losing their jobs against an ever expanding background of the rising cost of living caused primarily by a downward spiralling economy hastened by a series of unending internal devaluation measures (NSRL to set your thoughts in motion) and the fear that an external downward adjustment of the local currency peg would really throw the proverbial hungry cats among the yard-fowls being raised behind the Central Bank.

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  • I believe this to be a wonderful idea which i fear will be a lesson in futility as no post Independence Govt in Barbados has had any real interest in agriculture .

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  • Tudor,
    May I add a new dimension to this discussion – the introduction of futures derivatives in commodities. Basically, if an enterprising individual or organisation bought sufficient land in Dominica or Guyana on which to grow food, an equally enterprising Barbadian businessperson or organisation can contract to buy all or most of the produce at a set date in the future (there is no need to pay in advance) and at an agreed price.
    With that contract the landowner/farmer could raise funds from the credit market to work the farm, with the knowledge that payment for the produce will be made at an agreed future date.
    With such relative certainty it means the land owner could work his/her land and the buyer without the stress of worrying about the volatility of the commodities markets.

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  • This is coming through the assistance of the People’s Republic of China, China is also involved in every African country, yet……

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/world/asia/china-racist-museum-exhibit.html?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

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  • China, the Middle East, Australia and India are all involved in producing food in Africa. We have hungry Africans working on farms to produce food for over-fed Arabs. Yet when it sis suggested that Guyana – which is bigger than England – can be the food basket for Caricom some Bajans, comfortably off in North America, are saying it is not a good idea.

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  • @Hal
    Can’t move on? I have earned the right to be comfortably off in North America (as well as Bim when I’m there). The article stated that a Chinese museum had an exhibit which compared Black people to animals, you should take the time to read it.

    BTW you also suggested that the project be moved to Dominica which is 308 sq miles and mountainous, were you also saying that Dominica could satisfy the food needs of the Caribbean too?

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  • Sargeant October 13, 2017 at 11:24 AM #

    Its been deemed to be, by the power that be, to be fake news……can you show its provenance…..show us comments from at least 2 credible world sources.

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  • @Hal et al
    Remember that business tycoon
    Kevin Simpson has already invested
    in a huge agriculture project in Guyana.
    I have not heard anything about it
    recently

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  • @Vincent Haynes

    What fake news? What are you talking about?

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  • There is land available for lease in Guyana, approx a 1000 acres per lot, and there is no doubt in my mind that Dominica St. Lucia St. Vincent can grow and supply enough fruit and veg to feed the Caribbean, and T&T & Jamaica are not factored in to the equation.

    In my days traveling the Caribbean on business it used to amaze and disappoint me to see the citrus fruit rotting on the ground while in Barbados we imported from Florida etc. one of the problems was transportation and LIAT was no help what so ever in assisting with this problem.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Vincent HaynesOctober 12, 2017 at 1:17 PM
    “We are spinning top in mud as usual…..the only purpose for this operation from what has been shown is the advancement of COWs black belly sheep hide project……have no problem with that,except that they should come out upfront and say so.
    We need a number of things to happen in order for agriculture to move forward in this country starting with schedules for all registered farmers with a set price to be payed for their produce…..then we need Ag. insurance…..remove taxes off of greenhouses,aquaponic and solar inputs…….thats a start,more to come.”

    It seems the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has ‘proactively’ contracted-out its responsibilities for agri-business in Bim.

    With a whittled-down MoA what would that 16 odd doctors in Agriculture be doing other than pushing paper?

    Is it possible for them to be contracted-out to the same UWI from where they were born and bred?

    That Ministry- although crucial to the future survival of the country- has always been seen in the post-Independence Barbados as a dumping ground for politicians and their hacks either as surplus to requirements or naughty rebellious boys in the Cabinet in need of good discipline like the neutered Pitbull Estwick.

    Why not make a woman the next MoA to see if she would be fertile and fruitful enough to bring about the change in direction the country requires as its international business sector comes under heavy manners from the Canadian tax police and on its way to be sent to Coventry in the Bajan economic desert?

    Please, Dear Ceres, let that person be a lover and patron of ‘Herb’!

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  • Tudor,
    In the old days we had schooners ferrying produce between the islands and anyone walking down the wharf would have seen people busy loading and offloading fresh fruit. Apart from LIAT, a commercial failure, we still have not worked out transportation between the islands.
    In the early 1960s the British gave the Federation three ships, whatever happened to them? Have they ever been replaced?
    @Sargeant, have you ever been to Dominica. Again, a delegation once went from Barbados to negotiate Barbadians settling in Dominica; we have also sent people to cut canes in Dominica.

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  • I welcome the UWI project and wish them well. The Ministry of Agriculture should have changed their name to Ministry of non agriculture. For the past 40 years they have been the biggest pests standing in the way of true agriculture development on this island. Not only have they frustrated farmers, but their lack of knowledge and reluctance to introduce new crops and improved ways of farming has done the island great harm. The passion for agriculture has been stifled and will take a gigantic effort to revitalize it.

    Take a trip down to Haggatts, an almost empty nursery, workers sitting by idly with very little to do yet the guard at the gate demands to know where the plants are going to when leaving. I asked why does he have to know, he said that was part of his job. I told him I can give any parish on the island and he wouldn’t be any the wiser and it is really none of his business where I am going to plant my trees after I have paid for them. This stupidity is prolific in many government run institutions. Imagine it is forbidden to enter the nursery to choose the plant you want, they will bring one for you to purchase, after which you have to travel a mile to the cashier to pay then take it back to the nursery to get the receipt signed and plant delivered, the go t the gate and state where on the island you are taking them. Many fruit trees are not available and when I ask why they say that is all they have and can’t do anything about it. The fields that were once planted with Cherries, mangoes and carambolas are in a state of decay and overgrown.

    Frustration has made me go outside to bring in new varieties of fruit trees to try here in Barbados. The Plant quarantine is another relic that refuse to adapt to electronic technology. Imagine you cannot access a permit form online nor can you submit an application , they refuse email a permit after physically submitting it. The amount of time lost in going back and forth is astounding. The USA are now issuing Phytosanitary certificates electronically and yet Plant quarantine refuse to accept them. How can we progress with this type of thinking??

    I have set up my small aquaponic system growing lettuce, I have started growing Pitayas, mamey sapote, loquats, longans and black sapote.

    So any initiative to improve agriculture is a welcome change.

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  • @Islandgal

    There is a large tree in the public parking lot of the QEH which was covered with fruit in September, I think was a mamey sapote don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, if you have could you confirm.

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  • Sarge I have never seen any fruit trees in the car park and I have been there many times last year and earlier this year. I know they have a date palm by the vendors at the front near the A&E that bears fruit but no one picks them. I will have to recheck and let you know. I hope you are not confusing Mamey sapote with mammy apple, these are different fruits.

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  • Islandgal

    This was a large tree close to the rear of the lot and I asked a few people if they could identify it but none of them could. It had flowers and some “fruit” on the trunk as well as the branches. I saw an article on mamey sapote and thought it had the same characteristics as the size of the tree and colour of the “fruit” seemed like a match.

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  • @ island girl
    Very good post. The bureaucracy to which you refer sounds like a 1960s government ministry operating in 2017!
    While successive governments are to blame for much of the plight of agricultre, we should not give the traditional(white) corporate sector a pass. One of the main contributors to the destruction of agriculture, was Barbados Shipping and Trading, which at one point controlled several plantations. You should also remember that both the BLP and DLP subsidized the industry and were often held to ransom by the sugar producers; almost every crop season was marred by the sugar producers reluctance to pay proper wages and extended wage battles with the BWU.
    The owners of the plantations refused to diversify and were not interested in agro industries or ventures such as the one now being promoted by UWI. There were tremendous opportunities both in the local tourism industry and export markets but they were not prepared to invest. They were and to a large extent remain retailers at heart- buy and sell ; not innovate and develop business people.
    Small farming with proper marketing and progressive crop rotation could easily provide immediate employment for at least 5000 people. Imagine if they had any interest in agro industries , where the economy would be today. At least 25-30 000 jobs would have been the norm both seasonal and permanent. It would have forced the UWI to embark on what it is attempting to do at present, a long time ago. Note that one venture is estimated to create 1500 jobs.
    So while some blame can be placed on successive governments, we must be honest enough,
    to hold the traditional white corporate sector just as guilty.
    Quite frankly, all the plantations that were in debt while the owners/inheritors bought yachts, race horses and racing cars, should have been taken over by the government forty years ago and given to the workers who were still working for slave -like wages.

    Like

  • Montserrat Radio Echo shared ZJB Radio – Spirit of Montserrat’s photo.
    14 hrs ·
    Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and indoor
    ZJB Radio – Spirit of Montserrat
    14 hrs ·

    Montserrat’s newest appointed Government Minister Hon. David Osborne will preside over his first meeting as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) on October 28.

    CARDI’s Executive Director Barton Clarke paid a visit to Minister Osborne on Thursday to apprise him of the responsibilities of the position and to prepare him for the upcoming meeting in Costa Rica.

    Mr. Osborne told ZJB News he feels sufficiently prepared to take up the duties of this position, a role he inherited after Mr. Claude Hogan had his Ministerial revoked in September.

    Photo source: The Government of Montserrat’s facebook page

    (Left) Paul Lucas, Head of the CARDI office in Antigua (centre) Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Trade, Housing and the Envirnonment Hon. David Osborne (right) CARDI Executive Director Barton Clarke
    1 1

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  • Sarge I believe it is a cannon ball tree. With fruit growing on the trunk. Beautiful flowers as well. The fruit is inedible on that tree. There is one near to the Inland revenue and the Parliament buildings in Bridgetown.

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  • 97.333% of what is written about Barbados on BU is bad or wussa dan dat.

    I am not surprised at what Islandgal experienced at Haggats but extremely disappointed.

    Why has the governments of Barbados allowed Agriculture to decline to its current state ?

    Haggats should have been expanded and a program of continuous improvement put in place.

    In the 60s and 70s small farmers got support from the Ministry of Agriculture.

    Farmers growing fruit,vegetables and root crops benefited from the ploughing by government tractors and by selling their produce to the BMC.

    The MOA also subsidised animal feed and slaughtering.

    It is sad that Barbados has chosen to follow a high risk path of depending on other countries to provide “food security”.

    I gine in my little 2×4 garden an cut some chives,oregano,thyme an pick another tomato an a couple strawberries.

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  • Barbadians use to be able to buy fruit trees from the NCC location on the Bow Road over by the Stadium. Not sure the status these days.

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  • David

    Slightly better than Haggats.

    Yes Ag. has lost its sting…..from the Halcyon days of Vernon Sargeant who came back from Jamaica in 1962 with the idea of spreading ag. amongst the youth through the 4-H programme, as he saw it in action in Jamaica,who had copied it from america.

    Vernon and Brighteyes Sealy with 20 odd Ag. stations and many field officers at their disposal started both community and school based clubs which served as the engine for keeping ag. alive.

    Ag. will rise again like the Phoenix in Bim…….a sounder,technological driven one…..the youth are into aqua-ponics and solar greenhouses already……..we will get there.

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  • Hants October 14, 2017 at 12:58 PM #

    @Hants, it is a mind set. Our key decision-makers focus on white collar professions – accountancy, law, medicine, etc – and not on trades and crafts or agriculture. A good symbol of this is that we replaced the Barbados Foundry with a white elephant of a court building, leaving the old court building dilapidated. The same with the Central Foundry.
    It is the mindset that allows Sir Hilary to talk nonsense about a graduate in every home, but a graduate in what?
    We must reconfigure our national ambitions.

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  • @Islandgal

    Thanks, I had never noticed one before and that one had been around a long time, I like to look for unusual plants/trees whenever I’m in Bim. I also saw an unfamiliar bird and was told it was a wood? Pigeon. Those birds must be a new import they weren’t around when I was growing up, but I was told never leave your car under a tree where they are roosting.

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  • @ Sargeant ,

    A few years ago I discovered this “new” pigeon.

    They eat clammy cherries and my car got a few splatters of their sticky excrement.

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  • Could this be it…

    Black belly sheep semen?

    https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/09/14/bajan-gold-mine/

    Like

  • theranch2017.wordpress.com

    Like

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