A Sorry Tale: Demise of Bajan Cherry, Agriculture and …

Dr. Robert Lucas gave an insight about what has led to the unflattering development of Bajan Cherry. Food for thought – David, blogmaster

I would like to explain some facts. Firstly I just came across this post from a couple of days ago.

I was the agronomist at Soil Conservation who was responsible for the propagation of the Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra) from leaf-tip cuttings from new flushes. This technique hadn’t been used before in Barbados and to ensure rooting of ninety percent the humidity of nursery bed had to be increased to the dew point (point at which there is water condensate on the cuttings to prevent drying out. This posed a problem of damping off due to fungal diseases. To prevent such, all cuttings were treated with a fungicidal dip and the enclosed nursery was subjected to daily sprayings.

The procedure was a success and many plants true to type (same as the parent plant from which the cuttings were taken) were obtained. This was done to ensure that variations in soluble solids were kept to a minimum. Prior to the propagation, several meetings of the Soil Conservation Board took place. Present were Peter Webster, Edward Cumberbatch, David Croney L.G. Miller and myself. Miller was the driving force behind the whole enterprise. At these meetings I pointed out the difficulties that would be encountered (harvesting, cost of production and so on). Miller insisted that he had considered all of the obstacles and as far as he was concerned he was good to go with the project.

I left to study Food Technology as people trained in the discipline would be needed. When I came back on a vacation trip I was told that having gotten Soil Conservation under the aegis of the Agricultural Development corporation to plant cherry trees, Miller was not purchasing the cherries He was getting the finished concentrate from South America. I phoned Miller to ascertain what the real position was. He told me that it was cheaper for him to get the raw material from South America and was no longer interested in the enterprise. I wanted to know from him, why he insisted that Soil Conservation planted the trees if he knew he wasn’t going to use the fruits. He had nothing to say about that.

So soil Conservation was left with a lot of cherry trees, but no one to purchase the fruits. The same thing happened with guava. Sam Bharath in Trinidad had developed the Centeno Prolific ideally suited for processing purposes. I wrote Sam and got him to send cuttings. They were planted out at Swans but nothing came of the enterprise.

Lucas explained further in a second comment:-

At least some good did come about. A lot of unemployed persons harvested the cherries and guavas (at no cost to themselves apart from time and labour) for sale to the public. A real merry -go-round. You will soon hear we need to plant more fruit trees. When I was Soil, I imported new varieties of mango from Florida (Kent,) and avocado (Lula). In the latter case the Lula was imported to ensure that harvesting of avocado extended from June to the end of the year, since harvesting of the local types Pollock and Simmonds ( superb fruits) ended about September. I went through out the country, selecting for avocado on the following traits: absence of water in the seed cavity; ease of peeling; absence of fiber in the flesh; for green color skin (purple colored skin resulted in unsightly looking salads, a result of pigment seeping out). An orchard was established consisting of both avocado and mango.. The orchard was surveyed and the site of each individual type was recorded. I had the foresight to purchase a mist blower (the first to be used in Barbados) for spraying against pest and disease when the plants grew too tall to be sprayed by the use of the ordinary spray can. All of these were left for the persons who came after me. Even wrote an extension [extensive] bulletin on grafting and budding techniques to be used to train workers in propagation techniques. You wouldn’t believe what happened. The avocado trees were destroyed due to bad management, it was claimed wood ants (easy to fix.; slackness). The survey chart of position of and names of and varieties of individual trees was either lost or misplaced. So that’s the position.

64 thoughts on “A Sorry Tale: Demise of Bajan Cherry, Agriculture and …

  1. Dr Lucas,

    i commend you on this effort. that really pleased me to see someone who knows about fruit trees, propagation methods and various eating taste types (fibre and non fibre) and trees that have an extended season or late season fruits.

    i am an amateur fruit connoisseur myself and have often wondered how little we are doing in Bim to keep some good fruit varieties we have and to work on introducing others.

    when on vacation i go around the country looking for certain varieties of mangoes, avocadoes (pears) especially the long neck and purple or red ones, and other fruits. i have exchanged trees with people and have been able to get dragon fruits, lychees, sapodillas, cherimoyas, longans, rambutans, and certain types of guavas. i have grafted and or air layered a lot of these and planted them on vacant land throughout the island.

    what the govt is missing out on is the money to be made in this area whilst improving fruit tree varieties and expanding our fruit stock.

    very good on you Sir.

  2. Wily now has to add the word “ENTERPRISE” to words BARBADIANS FAIL to understand. This now means the word “MAINTENANCE” is not so lonely.

    Socialist FAILED STATE.


    It seems that the Scenario told by Dr.Lucas is Typical of Government where the Bureaucrats have ideas that they want implemented without a complete Follow Through…e.g. Grow the Cherry Trees and Cannot Sell the Cherries and if it is not their idea, do not bother with it as in the Avocado Trees. And lastly what we are soon going to experience is Governments Bungling by their Insistence on having Solar Energy we will End up Paying a Minimum of 50% more for Electricity, when there is No Chance of the World Running out of Oil or Natural Gas in the Next 100-500 years.

    Just like they have forced us to have no Plastic Straws and Bags while quadrupling the Price, Doubling the Size of the Garbage Volume, Paying more for these Green Products all the while claiming to save the Planet by removing these items and such like. Meanwhile not Removing Garbage in a Timely manner while Potentially killing the Bajans with the Rat Infestations across the Country!

    Over One Year after having Won the Government, Bajans still do not have New Garbage Trucks. All we are getting is Virtue Signaling of how Barbados Saving the Planet by Rasing Water Rates, by Paying a Sewage Charge even if you are Not Connected to Sewage, by Paying a Daily Garbage Collection Fee and they do not Show up for between 14-28 days to Remove the Stinking Garbage, Rats, Flies and maggots included! Soon going to be paying More for Electricity.

    They are Biodegradable Foam Containers that the Government REFUSES for us to use, but insists on Using Paper Oblivious to the Fact of cutting down more Trees to make the paper and Yet they Claim to Saving the Planet.

    When are we going to Get Leaders with Common Sense Rather than Leaders who Pretend they are doing the Right Thing? In Conclusion, Water Rates have Escalated, some small farmers have stopped planting because they cannot afford the increased rates. New Garbage Collection Rates and the Garbage Not being Removed. Paying for Sewage and you are not Connected to the Sewage. Forced to Pay for Paper Product that are filling the landfill faster. Higher Cost for Transport with limited Busses, More Taxes Causing More Unemployment, More Taxes Causing a Drop in Disposable Income, More Taxes Causing a Drop in Retail Businesses. Giving people a Tax Credit who do Not Pay Taxes. More Taxes Causing more Business Failures and yet we hear Barbados is Mending, things are getting Better, All is Well and the average person with a pang in his Belly and feeling his Pocket and finding it Empty! WE ARE TRULY INDENTURED WITHOUT A RELEASE DATE!!!




  4. I called Brasstacks three years ago and told Mr. James Paul that we were forty years behind in Afro industries. The goodly gentleman told me that I did not know what I was talking about.
    We don’t stand any chance now.

  5. I have been searching high and low for a bajan yam which when the plantations were more active were always in good supply.You cant get bajan yams anymore.Is it praedial larceny or plain indiffference to farming

  6. Would like to have Dr Lucas comment on the possibility of farmers in Barbados producing Aloe vera barbadiensis commercially especially with falling rainfall levels and growing food agricultural larceny.

  7. These people are jokers. Thirty years ago beach vendors were selling aloe to tourists on beaches all over the country.
    Once more we feel the world waiting on some plant/product unique to us.

  8. @ William Skinner

    Your Freudian slip was on point. It is because agriculture is considered Afro-industry that it is being neglected. I think the variety of yam Gabriel is seeking was called African yam as well. The one that fitted/suited our mouths.Coincidence? Lol.!!!

  9. @ William

    Apologies for the intervention. I am going through some old copies of New Vision. Interesting reading.

  10. @ Hants August 23, 2019 10:37 AM

    Where can we find some really tasty healthy yams called the “White Lisbon” yam of Barbadoes”?

    Why aren‘t those government owned and managed plantations planting these healthy forex-savers instead of bush and cow-itch to hide the vermin plaguing the countryside?

    Imagine a country having in excess of 20 so-called book-learnt scientists with doctorates in agriculture and not a pound of Lisbon yam can be found for a ‘reasonable’ price!

    What is happening with those former ‘CLICO fields and hills’ now the property of the Government?

    Also, the lowly breadfruit ought to be cherished and protected before it, too, goes the way of the Dodo bird like the Lisbon yam or the Black Rock sweet potato.

    It’s rather a matter of urgency that the Bajan-bred breadfruit tree imported from Tahiti through Captain Bligh be protected and preserved through a planned programme of crossbreeding with its ‘cousins’ in St. Vincent and the other ‘environmentally healthier’ islands.

  11. Greene said “lychees, sapodillas, cherimoyas, longans, rambutans” I would love to talk to you. Please contact me urgently. David will you send Greene my email address please. I am also a rare fruit grower and you can’t imagine the problems I am encountering trying to get permits to import some of these trees. The biggest pest we have is in the Ministry of Agriculture. This ministry have done nothing to improve the quality and diversity of fruits and vegetables on this island. Yet the supermarkets can bring in many of these fruits without a permits and phyto sanitary certificates thus increasing the flight of precious foreign exchange. We need people who are knowledgeable and passionate who will allow agriculture to develop on this island. For the past 40 years nothing has been done after the trail blazers like Cumberbatch, Decourcy and Percy Jeffers, Vivian White have retired and some are no longer with us. It is shameful that when you call the Soil conservation to buy anything they tell you they have nothing. And we tax payers money paying them to do nothing. We need Agricultural warriors. Guyana, Trinidad, Grenada St. Vincent and St. Lucia are way ahead of us. There is a group on FB called Barbados rare fruit growers and you can join. The thirst for knowledge and access to plant material is growing.

  12. islandgal,

    i dont live in Bim but return often enough. i have been told by a person i exchanged fruits with that the soil unit in St Andrew has these trees but not for sale yet.

    i am not in the facebook group but i have overseas bajan friends who are into fruit trees as their retirement play thing. i also have raspberry and lucuma and know one growing and bearing in Bim.

    i have to research getting permission to bring in some trees from florida. i want a jaboticaba, sapote, abiu, atemoya. but like you say it may be difficult to get permission.

    i am a big time fruit tree connoisseur. it is a real passion

    a cawmere friend who is also into fruit trees sent me this link. it will whet your appetite

  13. @ Dr Lucas

    Today they have been the largest amout of butterflies in the St James area that I can ever recall seeing. I am talking hundreds not a few dozen. Is this a sign of less commercial spraying?

    On the local food issue all every minister of agriculture does is talk. In the meantime the food import grows with nonesence like Iceberg lettuce, while we should be growing all the lettuce we need locally..

    I was in St Lucia recently on a Saturday and went to Castries market for a look around. All I can say is we are making sport here with agriculture when I see what others are doing.

  14. @ Gabriel August 23, 2019 9:44 AM

    The yam you are referring to is the White Lisbon (Dioscorea alata Linn.) A beautiful tasting yam; especially eaten hot with steamed flying fish or dolphin. The mouth feel of this particular yam was due to the type of starch molecules present. Starch molecules differ in properties (chemical and physical) from plant to plant and within species of plants as well. The White Lisbon suffered from a problem called internal brown spot. There was a British scientist working on the problem( was alleged to be a virus); got a doctorate locally on it,but did not solve the problem. Then there was O’Gara at Cave Hill who is basically a biologist and who keeps a lot of noise working on the matter to no avail. It will need the use of Crispr DNA technology to handle this problem. Similarly in the case of the pawpaw tree with bunchy top disease. As a matter in the case of the pawpaw in Hawaii, the Americans have used DNA to solve the problem

    @ Greene August 23, 2019 8:05 AM

    keep up the good work.
    When I went to Soil, the idea was to make Barbados self-sufficient in fruits ( mango, avocado, passion fruit,guava and coconuts)., Nearly fifty-years later we haven’t gotten very far. It tells you something about the power structure in Barbados. As long as merchants import and sell fruits and vegetables, self-sufficiency will never be attained.

  15. @ poorpeacefulandpolite August 23, 2019 9:45 AM

    There is nothing to stop Barbados from cultivating Aloe vera.Can be grown on the marginal lands and in areas of the Scotland District. Areas around Morgan Lewis would do fine . As a matter of fact I planted casuarina trees in a re-afforestation effort to stop soil erosion in the area. I haven’t been up that side of the world in years so I don’t what has become of the re-afforestation effort..
    But getting back to the Aloes, competition is going to be tough. I recollect reading that some of the drier islands had started commercial operations. It may be the case where Barbados has missed the boat due to slow response.

  16. Have a look along the Tom Adams Highway from the airport to St Lucy and notice the number of trees that have been planted and count also the number of those that are fruit-bearing.

    With the exception of a stretch just past Hothersal roundabout going in the direction of Waterford, where there are a few breadfruit trees, I challenge anyone here to show where there are cherry, dunks, avocado pear, mammy apple, gooseberry, banana, hog plumb, star fruit, jamoon, golden apple or any other productive tree that could be of benefit to a single Barbadian (or illegal emigrant).

    What a total waste of time and effort that was expended in planting those useless trees.

    Dr. Lucas, you will never be famous in Barbados – you are too outspoken and independent of thought – don’t change, for God’s sake, don’t change.

  17. @ John A August 23, 2019 12:15 PM

    It would appear from your observation of the butter flies that there is yet hope for this pesticide spraying mad country.. here in the Bay street area, I see one now and then.

    “On the local food issue all every minister of agriculture does is talk.”

    As true as John 3:16.
    Bare talk. Some just love to hear themselves talking.

  18. @ William Skinner August 23, 2019 9:34 AM

    “I called Brasstacks three years ago and told Mr. James Paul that we were forty years behind in Afro industries. The goodly gentleman told me that I did not know what I was talking about.” We don’t stand any chance now.

    Sir Kenneth Clarke, author of Civilization was asked why he had not included Spain in his epic work. He replied that one did not equate civilization with Spain ( latter actions in the new world). Similarly one cannot equate agriculture with James Paul, a man who is not qualified at all to talk about agricultural science topics ( note the stress on the word science).

  19. Dr. Lucas
    Our chance was lost donkey years ago. The inertia of successive governments and the decision of the monied traditional corporate class to abandon agriculture were the main factors.
    There are too many know it alls on this blog , who love to pretend that all of our problems started last week. The garbage their write is in real terms more offensive than that piling up on the streets.
    I have intimate knowledge of the Pine Livestock Station. I know of the contribution it made to employment in surrounding areas and the assistance given to small farmers.
    It’s a shame that we abandoned or did not modernize the agriculture industry.
    In an effort to buy into political nonsense and catch phrases about first world country and mature democracy, we literally ignored the importance of progressive community involvement in the development of our country.
    We allowed others to set our goals; to be judged by their yardsticks and now we are paying the price.
    It’s quickly becoming an intellectual waste land. A place for arm chair experts and pseudo intellectuals.
    And of course increasing numbers of cool aid drinkers.

  20. @ Dr. Lucas

    I may be wrong,but was not CARDI set up in Barbados primarily to deal with the Brown Spot disease in the Lisbon yam? What ever became of the locally described “buck yam” which had the texture and taste of “Irish potatoes”?

  21. our failures in Bim and to a large extent around the world is the baby boomer generation. they virtually were educated cheaply or free, got work easily and were able to buy property from working one job. however as leaders whether in govt or business they failed to adjust and prepare Bim for what was to come. their myopia is why we are where we are.

    they abadoned the villages for the hieghts and terraces. the city areas for cave hill, wanstead and husbands. they saw no use for agriculture and the village concept to solving problems and concentrated power in the hands of the so-called educated. money and getting ahead was their goal and god. traditions that worked for them they forgot in the pursuit of all that was American.

    and then they continued a system inherited by their masters, perfected it to such a degree that if you do not cowtow to it you are left behind. you are not in protective custody so to speak. so that those to follow will continue the same nonsense and they have. we cherish fast foods and nasty imports that kill us but we dont care -we are 1st world as Arthur deceived us into believing.

    take out a mortgage, build a big house, you have arrived. in the meantime i will sell off all the west coast land (land is only an asset), i will borrow and mortgage your future for that promise. now house and land prices are out of the reach of most Bajans. why? salaries have not matched the astronomical rise in that area because we wernt catering to bajans. we sold out for the foreign dollar

    so now the shite hits the fan and we reflect and we realise what we did in the past, the kitchen gardens, the village camaraderie, the build-on bit by bit, the agricultural pursuits to feed ourselves and eat what we grow werent bad concepts after all but it was too late.

    we lament and place blame at the feet of the BLP or the DLP when in reality it was a generational thing and that generation is still in charge. and it is not listening to the clamour for change. it has dug in deeper fearing the unknown for the failed knowns.

    it is time for a new dispensation. time for the baby boomers to pack in it and hand over to those who want change and can effect change for all barbadians.

    just a rant

  22. Another edifying contribution. Globalisation along with one of its offsprings, like WTO free-trade rules, was the final solution to completely turned some nations into food insecure and dependent states. You don’t have to be a conpiracy theorist to believe that globalization and its attendants is a form of modern day world domination and control. Small island developing nation, whose food security was challenging even before WTO formalisation, became its biggest causality. For the unimaginative and lazy merchant class in these countries, this new trading arrangement was like mannah from heaven. Whatever manufacturing capacity was left, soon give way to warehousing and distribution.

    In Barbados, even basic agriculture commodities that ordinary people use to grow in their back-yard was imported and sold not only in upscale supermarkets but were also sold shamelessly in the local markets. CRAZY ! Willam Skinner is absolutely on point here.

  23. Land for most was only available in the “heights” and “terraces”. Please do not blame the purchasers. This is another example of Hobson’s choice.

  24. Had some breadfruit for breakfast this morning, then two hours of filed wok. Enjoying some hog plums right now. Yes I live in the revilled “heights and terraces” , a refugee from my zoned 1 village. But I go to my village every other day to grow food organically. Okras, cassava, sweet potato, yam, tomatoes, avocado, coconut.

    We the consumers must eat local food, so that local farmers, large and small can make a living. A few hundred people will eat cou-cou tomorrow because i grew the okras.

  25. Most of Barbados’ problems following our Independence is simply bad management. An international management standard is begging to be implemented. Yet, we prefer to simply complain about the bad management, and ridicule the international standard.

    • @Grenville

      That are the factors leading to the bad management? Our people are highly educated, the problem cannot be just bad management.

  26. @ David.

    The excuse of a management system being the answer has become tiring to say the least! For a management system to work one first needs managers, a policy and someone at the top ensuring that not only are measures implemented, but that they are also seen through to fruition. A new management system would be like implement a new law for the PSV sector or the squatters and giving the same authorities the new law to enforce. In other words an exercise in futility based on what has proven to be a dismal failure.

    We are great at grand ideas and creating new laws, but we are pathetic at seeing anything through. So whether it be agriculture, transport, law enforcement or VAT collection, there is the same issue at the core of all of their failings and it’s this. After the grand ideas and grand standing, We just can’t seem to implement anything and see it to fruition sadly.

  27. I’m loving this thread because I see at least a handful of us are actually doing things rather than just talking about what the ‘government’ should do.

  28. Hal is fond of complaining that Barbados is a failed state… but our problem is much deeper. We Bajans are a failed culture. No strategy or management system will cure this problem; our only hope is to develop a better culture.

  29. @PLT

    Welcome to reality. Let us start from the position that we all love Barbados and want it to do well. Let us also assume that we now, or at some point, were very proud of Barbados. Where we now diverge is on the current vision and direction.
    We can offload the loudmouths and disturbed, ignore the apologists and bullies, and get down to a serious and mature debate on the future of our nation. This is a first step. A failed state is not a permanent condition. With good leadership it can be rescued.

  30. @ Vincent Codrington August 23, 2019 4:04 PM

    CARDI was the successor to the Regional Research Center.. The research on internal brown spot was spear -headed by CARDI. A British scientist( Montel or some such sounding name) did the research. There was a lot of publicity given to his work for which he was awarded a doctorate. Subsequent events proved that he hadn’t solved the problem. The buck yam I vaguely remember there was some talk about it. Typical of Barbados, there is a hue and cry about some promising crop and the current minister latches on to it for political mileage. After some research to determine yields and so on, it dies a natural death without a whimper.

  31. Was always just a matter of time.

    Before bajans could no longer avoid the obvious conclusion

    Which is that the only thing between the B’s and the D’s is a C – as so eloquent put by the local poet laureate.

  32. ROBERT

    RE Starch molecules differ in properties (chemical and physical) from plant to plant and within species of plants as well.


    HOW DO THEY differ in properties (chemical and physical) from plant to plant and within species of plants as well.

  33. @ GEORGIE POGIE August 24, 2019 11:05 AM

    Starch consist predominantly of straight chain amylose ( α 1,4 linkages.) and branch chains amylopectin.α(1→6) bonds occurring every 24 to 30 glucose units.

    The ratio of these two varies within the starch molecules of different plants. it is the variation that results in the difference in mouthfeel on cooking. Amylopectin has a lot of receptor sites( due to its branched nature) thereby facilitating rapid enzymatic break down: additionally it is highly soluble. In contrast, the straight chain configuration of amylose limits the number of sites available for enzymatic attack, since amylose has very few α(1→6) bonds, As a result amylose is hydrolyzed very slowly. and is much more insoluble than amylopectin. Since the White Lisbon yam cooks very quickly and has a superb mouthfeel, it has a higher amylopectin content than the yams which are prevalent these days. You would have noticed that these other yams once cold are as hard as rocks.

    These are as many as there are variations in the variety of plants .As I have pointed out, due to the variation in ratio of the two components, the physical and chemical properties vary. For example when starch is added to boiling water a gel is formed due cross linkages between the dipole( since the oxygen atom of water is strongly electronegative and the hydrogen electropositive ) of the water molecule and starch. The water can be view as being similar to a magnet ,with a north and south pole, Since starch consists from a molecular stand point of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, there also exist areas where there are dipoles. Cross linkages can therefore occur resulting in a swelling (gel formation). The temperature at which gelation occurs varies from starch to starch. Also of note is retro-gradation. You will have observed this as a boy when your mother was starching your school uniform ( I wonder if it still happens today). After the gel has occurred and the starch gel is left at ambient temperature for a period of time, the gel becomes thin and watery, this feature is called retro-gradation and varies from starch to starch based on the chemical composition ( amylose to amylopectin ratio).

  34. @William Skinner August 24, 2019 12:46 PM
    “Please explain we Bajans are a failed culture.
    If we label Barbados a failed state we encourage the illusion that we can fix what ails Barbados by changing or fixing the institutions of state: we elect a new government, pass new laws, hire more judges, or plan to become a republic… None of this will accomplish the change that we need to build a society that is just, equitable, and prosperous.

    I assert that we Bajans are a failed culture to highlight that the changes we require are in our own cultural mindset:
    * we need to learn that the purpose of freedom is to help others attain freedom;
    * we need to understand that leadership is NOT telling others what to do, but being in service to others to help them achieve their potential;
    * we need to spend less time blaming others and more time improving ourselves;
    * we need to understand our history that created us as we are now in order to recreate ourselves as we wish to be.

  35. @JohnA. And even when the laws and regulators are in place, we still fail at enforcement.

    @Dr Lucas. So true. For years I have heard talk about three specific crops that were to replace our sugar export: West indian sea island cotton, ginger, and cocoa. What are your thoughts on the sea island cotton ?

  36. @ peterlawrencethompson August 24, 2019 7:42 PM

    What also is worthy of mention is that Barbados once had an excellent and, indeed, enviable record of social and economic development.

    Barbados was once (up to the early 1990’s) considered as the No.1 so-called developing country in the world and rated at No.20, just after Israel on the overall UN Human Development Index.

    Wasn’t Barbados a leader in tropical agricultural research and a pioneer in sugar cane plant propagation”?

    What about the fruit trees (and later animal) genetic engineering leading to such ‘innovations’ as the grapefruit and the resiliently productive black-belly sheep which can be found in many parts of the globe today

    In light of the vast investment in tertiary education why has the country regressed so much in the last 30 years vis-à-vis others?

  37. @ Robert Lucas at 6 :51 PM

    Masterful exposition as usual. Thanks.

    @ PLT at 7 :42 PM

    A very insightful catalogue of things we need to do as a people if we wish to build a just and prosperous society. But do we have the will to implement?
    How can we implant this will?

  38. @ fortyacresandamule
    I have written extensively in the press about sea-island cotton and the problems one encounters with it. From a sociological aspect, most countries that produce cotton are dirt poor. Cotton as a crop, depletes the soil of nutrients and therefore a very good fertilizer regime has to be put in place to rectify the soil fertility problem. As for sea-island cotton, the main problem is the fact that the plant is indeterminate as well as being what is known as short-day. By indeterminate ,I am referring to the fact that the bolls do not all ripen at the same time. Harvesting must take place over a protracted period of time, resulting in an increase in the cost of production. It is just like the local peanut which has a bigger kernel ,but which is also indeterminate. When harvested more immature nuts are left in the ground than the actual harvest itself. By short day (photoperiodic nature of the plant) I am referring to the fact that bolls mature in the period December and onwards when in the tropics, the length of daylight is much shorter,. In addition, harvesting by hand is tedious as it requires a lot of picking just to get a pound of cotton (think of cotton wool that you purchase from the Drug Store).
    The reprogramming of the cotton has to be done using genetic modification to do the following: 1) make the plant day neutral so that bolls mature at anytime of year. 2) Make the plant determinate; that is all of the bolls mature at the same time making it easy for harvesting by hand or machine, 3) engineer the plant so that it fixes nitrogen from the air in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer.
    The Egyptians have engineered their cotton so that the staple length is nearly the same as the sea-island cotton. One therefore has to ascertain whether the slight edge in quality that the sea-island cotton has at present over the Egyptian cotton is enough to encourage people to shell out lots of money in up-scale market for the commodity.

    • @Dr. Lucas

      Was there ever a consideration by the planners to move in the direction you have just explained? It seems the message taht Barbados produces some of the best cotton in the world is worn proudly and that is all.

  39. @ David BU

    Sea Island cotton, like our tourist industry, should be confined to the high end market. The high price is worth the expenditure.It looks good. It feels good. It has a life expectancy of at least 10 years. I do not understand why we did not make a success of this crop.

  40. @ David August 24, 2019 8:56 PM

    I would have to say yes to that one. A Barbadian( Orville Wickham) was sent to the US to do a doctorate in genetics( conventional plant breeding was what he was doing). Conventional plant breeding takes a long time to achieve the traits mentioned in my post above. As a matter of fact, if the trait desired is under multiple genes control, one might never attained the end desired.Wickham came back did some work on cotton but ran into some problems( from what I have gathered) with the way the staples were fused in the bolls. In any event, he left and went to some other section of government but still in agriculture..
    You ought to remember early in this century there was a lot of talk about having a cotton industry. Money was ear-marked for the project There was a female foreigner in charge of the publicity.In addition to her there was Bail Springer( no formal training) who seemed to have had some association with the project. It was no surprise when it failed. As far back as the 1970’s attempts were made to get cotton off the ground. Barbadians tend to listen to those who keep a lot of noise and sound as though they know what is going on, even when it is known that they are ignorant of the subject matter.

  41. |@PLT

    A few weeks ago you talked about the social progress we had made from the 1950s to the early 1960s. I asked for an explanation, so far I have not had any. Such an explanation would fit in with the general direction of this blog. I remember you said your father was out of the country and you had done your own research on the topic. Any references?
    Plse say how the early 1960s were an improvement on the 1950s, and list the policy changes.

  42. @Dr. Lucas. A few years ago I was in an upscale department store (Nordstrom) in New York with a lady friend of mine. To my surprised I saw sea island cotton mens’ dress shirt, MADE IN CHINA, selling for over US $600. While at the same time regular bulk cotton was trading for less than $1us/lbs on the commodity exchange.

  43. @ fortyacresandamule August 25, 2019 3:02 AM

    I would not be surprised if that cotton came from Barbados. Barbados grew the cotton and exported it( raw) to the Far East, where it was spun into yarn and made into dresses and shirt. Since the 1970’s,several attempts have been locally to get the industry on the right footing. Invariably, the wrong type of people get involve seeking to make a fast buck. A lot of glib characters with lots of talk and political connections. It starts off with a fanfare of publicity and dies without a whimper after the sharks have looted all of the money out of the enterprise. This happens like a recurring decimal point.

  44. @ PLT
    Thanks for your response.
    Once again we are into blaming the people for the transgressions of the political class and the corporate elites, who have essentially impeded the progress of the nation.
    Quite frankly , the masses have survived and built the same upper and middle classes that now intellectualize their plight and throw scorn on them.
    We are hiding behind a lot of catch phrases and “ pretty talk” rather than go after those who have actually inflicted the pain and hurt for the last forty years or more.It’s alright to talk about a failed culture but we need to look around and see who’s really paying the price to keep the country afloat.
    The largest beneficiaries of what some delight in calling a “ welfare state” are the same political class and corporate elites. Not the poor and downtrodden masses.Some on this blog, want to make them Boxers(Animal Farm). They must only produce and work for starvation wages. How criminal some of our minds are.

    • @William

      This quote extracted from a document you should be familiar:

      The Framers’ first assumption was that all just authority for government comes from the people, under God; not from a monarch or a governing class, but from the innumerable citizens who make up the public. The people delegate to government only so much power as they think it prudent for government to exercise. Government is the people’s creation, not their master. Thus, if the people are sovereign, it is the citizens’ responsibility to take upon their shoulders the task of seeing that order, justice, and freedom are maintained.

  45. @ Forty acres

    It is the Nordstroms that rake in the benefits. We could have made that shirt in Barbados for a little more than the Chinese and sold it for considerably less than US $ 600. AND AT A PROFIT.
    The tourism industry is the same . Bajans make the sacrifices of land,water ,beaches,sewage ,garbage and foreign borrowing, while the brand name hotels rake off 20 – 25% in gross revenue. The economic/business model is the same.

    @ Dr. Lucas

    The world is full of opportunistic parasites. Analysis is spot on.

  46. @ David BU at 8:25 am.

    Good political theory. The problem is the implementation. How can that ideal be achieved in any of the political systems that you know?

    In the system under reference they attempt to do so every four years. Are the citizens really sovereign?

  47. @William Skinner
    I am not seeking to be “blaming the people for the transgressions of the political class and the corporate elites…” I am instead acknowledging that it is our responsibility as a society to overthrow or subvert or undermine or disempower the “political class and corporate elites.”

    You are correct that the Bajan “welfare state” exists to benefit the political class and corporate elites.

    I have a very dismal opinion of the Bajan upper and middle classes. Their main preoccupations are exclusively selfish.

  48. @ David August 25, 2019 6:40 AM

    I haven’t a clue. There has been total silence about that stored cotton. If you hadn’t referred to it, I wouldn’t have remembered it at all.

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