Carmeta Fraser Smiles

The Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Cleviston Haynes will deliver the quarterly review of Barbados’ economy, next Wednesday, October 28 at 11:00 AM. In recent years Barbadians have become numb to the performance of the economy as we battle with a high debt to GDP, high unemployment, low national productivity to name three key performance indicators.

The pandemic expectedly served to stress the fragile state of the local economy and according to the mid year review of the economy by the Central Bank in June 2020 – see Central Bank of Barbados Review of the Economy January the economy saw a sharp decline that was the trend across sectors, EXCEPT, for Agriculture which saw a 3.7 percent expansion in non sugar agriculture.

For many years Barbados Underground has pleaded with government to allocate additional resources to the food sector. Barbados is surrounded by the sea with an abundance of fish, a mature poultry and pig industry and with declining sugar production available land space to plant root and other crops to grow the agriculture sector. It is heartening to see non sugar agriculture output trending upwards and expect that next week the trend will continue when the Governor delivers the quarterly report. A good news story forced by the pandemic we have to admit.

Related Link: Carmeta’s Corner

Last year government launched the Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) to increase domestic agricultural production with the objective of enticing more young people and the use of technology into farming.  In 2011 Barbados Underground featured the Aquaponnics project located at Bairds Village – Baird’s Village Aquaponics Project, A Case Study For Homegrown Success. Finally Mr. Hinkson, a pioneer of the technology in Barbados is getting the recognition he deserves.

See video on the FEED programme:

https://www.facebook.com/gisbarbados/videos/1845889902240930

It is no secret one of the factors negatively affecting the agriculture sector is praedial larceny. Successive government have paid lip service to introducing measures and enforcing existing laws to protect farmers and the sector. If we are serious about increasing and sustaining output, we MUST address the scourge of praedial larceny. If it were the tourism sector we know the calvary would have been summons by government to lend assistance.

That said we should be encouraged by the growth in non sugar agriculture and continue to improve by increasing technology and education in the sector. Let us guard against crop theft AND leverage opportunities CARICOM can provide. We lack the land space to benefit from scale and the small size of the domestic market to keep price points low to compare with the competition. The following report on the Caricom Agriculture and Food security Task Force is instructive and we pray for its success so that we continue to move the agriculture output needle in the right direction.

See GIS report:


CARICOM Agriculture & Food Security Task Force Established

by Cathy Lashley | Oct 21, 2020 |

CARICOM now has a Food Security Task Force to ensure that member states make agricultural development a priority.

This was disclosed by Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong, recently, as he gave the Barbados Government Information Service an update of new initiatives under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) at his Culloden Road office. 

Ambassador Comissiong explained that the task force was implemented to ensure that the region does not experience any deficit in food supplies and that the agriculture and food production sectors were enhanced.

He said: “This initiative is intersecting with the Barbados National FEED (Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive) programme. The Government has a programme in place to bring on board 2,000 new farmers to seriously enhance Barbados’ capacity to produce its own food and agricultural produce.”

The envoy added that as it was announced in the Throne Speech, additional resources would be put in place to establish and develop “new markets across our landscape”.

“So, clearly, one of the responses to the crisis (COVID-19 pandemic) is for Barbados to produce much more of its food. Right now, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign exchange purchasing food from outside our CARICOM region. So, if at the regional level and at the national level we could enhance our food production, then in a situation where the tourism has collapsed [and] we are not bringing in the foreign exchange, we can get around that need for foreign exchange by producing more of our food,” he stated.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/caricom-agriculture-food-security-task-force-established/

53 comments

  • Bring this back when the bye election is over.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Your comment exemplifies what is wrong with the country. A by election in the agriculture belt of SHN should have food security and agriculture being discussed on the political platforms.

    Like

  • David

    We are sure that you are well aware of this, but we state yhethe obvious anyhow.

    American foreign policy is predication, on amongst other things, the export of their argricultural and agro- industrial production to countries of the world.

    So it is not by accident that Barbados was forced to import “edible substances’ , not real food.

    Why we must have supermarkets as the colonial structures dispensing this foolish food. No wonder we have the levels of diabetes, hbp, cancer and so on.

    Should Barbados choose to not comply, you will find that loans, WTO violations etc may be implicated.

    Carmeta Fraser tried hard but today her thinking represents the most radical thing Bajans could do.

    Imported “foods” are kept too cheap to make domestic production able to transform the industrial distribution system.

    No amount of backyard gardens could significantly impact this structure.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    Many years ado the blogmaster heard Comrade Bobby Morris making the point (in summary) that one of the greatest challenges which small open economies had to face was the first world creation called ‘globalization’. With it our way of life; type of clothes we wear, commodities and services we buy, how we educate ourselves, how we EAT and feed ourselves. We are here now. How do we unfreeze and at the same time propagate an indigenous way of doing? It is not as easy as some of the coggers on the blog would have us believe. We have all these external forces constantly targeting the Barbados bubble. We almost seem helpless to repel/resist.

    Like

  • @David,

    i am one of the coggers altho i believe you are older than i am. this is one of your better posts.

    the reason old coggers warn bajans about cultural penetration is because they have lived in the systems that bajans seem to admire and they know these systems are bollocks and not all what they are made out to be.

    but bajans seeing these people returning and living comfortably think that there is gold in the US, Canada and the UK and all you have to do is get there and pick it up off the street.

    they dont know the insults you have to endure, the systemic racism that has to be ignored or overcome, the two faced colleagues you put up with, the unhealthy food that you have to resist and the cold and unfriendly conditions with which you have to contend.

    so it is quite startling for many of us that when we return to see bajans wasting time and money to live like people over and away. they want to eat their nasty food forgetting the ground basic foods that sustained us. they want to wear their clothes – i see bajans wearing sweaters. why? they listen to their music, watch their TV and emulate their behaviour. and they we realise that the life we left in Bim and thought we were returning is gone and replaced by a cheap copy of the life we thought we had left over and away.

    we try to warn bajans but they dont want to believe you. perhaps they think you dont want them to get thru like you did or you are being over dramatic. you then realise that there is nothing you can say that will make them believe you so you say nothing and just shake your head and chuckle

    it is quite a disappointment because Bim can be a great place to live once we are honest with each other and believe in our selves and our way of life.

    mind you there is a lot to be learnt from living over and away but it is not what it is cracked up to be.

    i like the climate in Bim altho the heat gets me sometimes. i like how relieved i feel when that burden seems to lift from my shoulders when i land at GAIA. i like the authentic bajan food and i seek out such places to eat. i like the beaches and generally driving around visiting my old school friends and other returnees. most of all i like the people friendly and open.

    Like

  • David
    Correct. It’s impossible to properly understand anything in Barbados unless we locate whatever problems we have within the contexts cited.

    Some here often refute this reality but both parties, and maybe the thirds, will of necessity so think about issues in this way.

    Have we ever heard anybody, for 50 years, given a buget speech without an analysis of the global, regional environments?

    Like

  • Pacha, you should write an article on this. Especially how the Americans forced Aristide to disenfranchise the Haitian peasant farmers. That in itself was a criminal act.

    Like

  • Dame Bajans
    Will try. We have become interested in the politics of food security because of the need to know where it comes from, veganism.

    And the politics around food are no less vicious than other forms of economic warfarism.

    Like

  • The way forward is to radically and quickly invest in modern agricultural techniques and fisheries. This does not need any long winded intellectual discussion. If we don’t have the expertise to execute , we can bring them in. They come and tell us how to borrow money; we can get others to come in to assist with other things.
    When the Chinese were building the Gymnasium, they were fishing in the St. Lawrence Lake and feeding themselves.
    I say no more.

    Like

  • @Greene

    You are absolutely right. However it will not go down well on BU. I have been saying for ages that the worst treated group in the UK since the second world war has been Caribbean people, we have even invent ed a new hyphenated word for them, Afro-Caribbean.
    Yet, only recently I have had someone coming on BU claiming I have celebrated the so-called multicultural UK society. In reality, the great social division between Caribbean people and Africans is that Caribbean people came mainly in the 1950s and 60s and had to endure horror; the Africans came mainly in the 1990s, after the civil wars, so the circumstances had changed, both in the UK and what drove them to the UK.
    The Race Relations Act was passed in 1965, then again in 1968; and again in 1976; but the 1976 act was passed after the 1975 Sex Equality Act because Roy Jenkins, the home secretary, thought the nation would not stand for it. Brits had to be soften up with women’s equality first.
    Those experiences have shaped the two groups’ outlook. Britain looks like Heaven to the Africans, and it has been Hell for the Caribbeans.
    The remarkable thing is that Caribbean people have endured that brutality and have gone on to live outstanding lives and, given their children and grand children opportunities that they could not even dream of those years ago.
    In the 1960s and 70s the Brits thought Caribbean people were not intelligent to be teachers or youth workers; to work in offices; to be police officers (many were recruited to serve in the army); and even in nursing, they created a bogus qualification, the state enrolled nurse, because they thought we could not qualify to be State Registered Nurses. The list goes on.
    @ Greene, they may be related to us, but they know zilch about our lives in the UK – and do not care.

    Like

  • @ William

    We may tip toe round the problem from generation to generation, but the bottom line is that we are collective failures.

    Like

  • @Hal,

    i know Hal.

    i have tried telling them to get back to the basics. there is much money and business to be generated in the authentic bajan food business.

    my children and many of their friends white and black and African, would like to come to Bim for a good ole bajan time replete with bajan food, music etc..

    they have heard so much about it that they want to experience it. but alas all we do is see tourists as white and offer them european type dishes that i doubt they want.

    i see many tourists at oistins enjoying what is labelled bajan food and atmosphere with the old men in the background there playing cards and dominoes and having a good time.

    MAM tried with her invitation to bajans to return and celebrate every month in a different parish but sometimes that came over as a gimmick and didnt seem long lasting but to be fair she tried and it wasnt a bad idea. COVID put paid to that but i hope she doesnt give up on it as a long term project

    we must build up our fruit and food bank and we can make a tourist thing out of it. have tourist come and see how fruits and other consumables are grown and taste them right off the tree. there is so much we can do in terms of food.

    Like

  • @ Hal
    The greatest failures have been our generation. We declared ourselves middle class and then overnight we all became experts in everything outside of how to effectively manage ourselves. Our parents got most of it right; we got most of it wrong. There are people on this blog who seek only to impress and all they do is regurgitate Fox and CNN then pretend or infer that the Caribbean is some backwater place.
    Anybody on this blog seriously believes that Biden, Trump or Johnson put together have the intellect of James, Lamming or Williams. But we seem proud dissecting these idiots.
    We just so frigging brilliant it’s frightening.
    Peace.

    Like

  • Dame Bajans

    Of course, your reference about Haiti had to do with how the Americans by forcing the Haitian government to buy cheap rice imported from their redstate farmers destroyed ten of thousands of Haitian small farmers.

    Like

  • Tens of

    Like

  • @Pacha

    The challenge it seems is that we have allowed our way of life to be overridden by our taste for other things. The reality however is that notwithstanding what has transpired managing food security has taken priority. The economic indicator is trending in the right direction, the utterances from the MOA suggests there is more to come. Let us continue to be the best advocates. Maybe COVID 19 is the great disrupter and represents the tipping point.

    Like

  • @ Hal
    Conservatively, over the years, I have sent at least seven hundred people to Barbados. They have each in turn told a minimum of about ten or more. But what the hell do I know. I don’t live ‘bout there; never run a bread shop and want the island to fail.
    Peace.

    Like

  • @ William

    You may remember the days when your mother had to make money stretch from pay day to pay day. You got a daily meal by ‘trusting’ ie taking credit out with the local shop keeper.
    Those were days when poorly formally educated mothers, we did not call them housewives, demonstrated an economic superiority that was remarkable.
    They will send you to get a quarter ounce of butter, an onion, a pig tail, two pounds of yam, some ‘English’ potatoes, and a gill of cooking oil, etc, enough to cook a meal. Tomorrow will look after itself.
    Then we ‘progressed’ to what we used to called cash and carries, now called supermarkets. The change is in the name.
    We took credit with the local shop keeper and when we had money we spent it at the supermarkets. The generational decay is not just in Barbados. We have it too in the UK and it is painful.
    My way of dealing with it in the UK is exactly how I deal with it on BU – I have no advice for them, no suggestions, instructions, no lifting them up when they fall, unless they approach me for help.
    I see it in Barbados every time I visit. We are always the clients, the customers, never the owners or providers. It is a failed society.

    Like

  • David

    We are not as hopeful as you seem to be.

    What those who believe in free markets and so on don’t tell us is that there is nothing free about markets.

    Meaning, food markets are no different and uniquely subject to the protection of vested interests.

    You can plant all the backyard vegetables yuh want. Or the MOA could make all the political plans he wants. But stopping importation, agro-industrialization and achieving self sufficiency will attract the attentions of market defenders.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    Barbados is a small market, some suggests we should be able to fly under the radar to avoid the defenders you mentioned.

    Like

  • BU has become a kind of oldie goldie radio talk show, where the old timers call in and reminisce fondly on the good old days.
    Don’t you lot get tired of rehashing the same effluent over and over?

    The Barbados you grew up with is gone forever. It is not coming back. It is never coming back.

    You guys want Bajans to do more farming but where is the land for them to farm? Land in Bim is very expensive; and anyone from anywhere can buy a piece of the rock and just leave it there or build mansions. Then we have situations like where one individual own most of the arable land in St Lucy.

    Even if a few Bajans do get a lil piece o land to farm who will stop de men from tiefing the crops with impunity?

    On top of that, there is a sort of cultural aversion to agriculture among the Bajan negrocrats. They speak about agriculture in purely abstract and theoretical terms. Never in practical terms.

    Agriculture will only be taken seriously in Barbados when there is no other way to get a plate of food.

    Like

  • David

    For fear of good example a message will be sent.

    They dont see smallness as lovingly as you do. We’re talking about hundreds of millions imported annually. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

    Like

  • @Dullard

    Agreeing with you this morning.

    @Pacha

    We are at a point where something has got to give.

    Like

  • David

    These orders of magnitude might appear to be irrational to some.

    But only by the world exiting all the present arrangements can Barbados enter a path of sustainability.

    The architecture can take us no further.

    Like

  • Dey not fair either

    Like

  • @ Hal
    Correct. I don’t think anybody expects us to go back. However we expect to go forward with a plan, not running to the IMF every other week!
    Enlightened discourse is usually not a good companion for some.
    Great post, Comrade.

    Like

  • @ William

    Thanks. What I find rather strange is that the president, this brilliant woman, has all the fiscal tools to reverse this downward trend and is trapped in ineptitude.
    I am also surprised that Prof Persaud, the great economist, who has certainly seen better, is either not advising the president of better fiscal policies, or is being ignored.
    Either way he has got to abandon his cultural love of money and adopt a principled position, even if he thinks being ‘principled’ is a digital game.
    I can come up with more suggestions, but seeing what they have done to @PLT’s remote workers idea, I won’t if it was to save them from an economic storm. Let them drown.
    @ William, the small shop keepers can form a wholesale cooperative to cut out the middle man by importing own-label produce and saving millions. As far as I know, it has never even been on the table. This is where government can give a lead.

    Like

  • Two cheeks of the same backside.

    Can’t get a “six-punce” between these two.

    Like

  • @David October 23, 2020 9:21 AM. “We almost seem helpless to repel/resist.”

    We need to start in infancy. Six months maternity leave so that all mother’s can breast feed their babies.

    Guess how many millions of dollars we spend on importing breast milk substitutes, when breast milk is free.

    At the nursery level government has to take the lead by feeding the children only tropical, preferably only local foods, locally produced cow’s or goat’s milk and locally produced ground foods sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, okras, spinach, eggs, chicken, fish, pork etc. [I understand that some of the inputs must be imported] Our excellent nutritionists can come up with menus suitable for children aged 6 months to 4 years. Share these menus with the parents of young children so that they too can do the same at home.

    The school meals program should be based on ground food, fish from within our 200 miles economic zone.

    So that our grandchildren relearn what their great grandparents knew.

    Nowadays Bajans think of rice and peas and macaroni pie as special Sunday food. But my grandmother who died in 1969, never cooked rice as her Sunday food, my father who died in 2006 NEVER ate macaroni pie. If my accident we put it on his plate he would say “please take it off my plate.” She died at 90, he at 94. I pray for the same for my grandchildren. In my grandma’s time soup was Sunday food. I am sure that some of our young people would be surprised to hear that. Mixed grain soup, that is whatever peas and beans were available, a piece of mutton from whoever was slaughtering a sheep or goat, or a yard fowl, or no meat at all, and that was delicious Sunday dinner. I still cook a pot of soup most weeks, and my little 20 something Susie who is over and away does the same, or buys a bowl from her neighborhood Jamaican restaurant.

    We do not have to be so dependent on imported food. We have to re-teach and re-learn to love what we can grow here.

    We CAN make decisions for ourselves. The WTO etc. are not Gods.

    Tomorrow morning make your own decision buy a breadfruit instead of a box of macaroni. What is stopping us?

    Like

  • If we did not pick the craft din-din off the supermarket shelf, then the supermarkets would not import it.

    Like

  • @Hal Austin October 23, 2020 10:24 AM “…they may be related to us, but they know zilch about our lives in the UK – and do not care.”

    We all have family who who moved to the U.K between 1940 and the present.

    In my case 3 siblings, one aunt, one uncle, 1 child, 2 nephews, and I am just your very ordinary Bajan. Some stayed for a year or two, some stayed for more than 40 years. Some of the recent migrants were full time students, but ALL have spent time in the U.K workforce, some a lifetime, some vacation jobs. Some worked as maids and truck drivers, some of the more recent one have worked in the “elite’ profesions.

    We know how our Caribbean families have suffered.

    We have no illusions about life in the U.K.

    Like

  • @Pachamama October 23, 2020 10:09 AM “And the politics around food are no less vicious than other forms of economic warfarism.”

    The politics around food is the most vicious of all, because there is much we can do without, but food, we can’t do without food.

    Like

  • Must have really annoyed those silly Brits when my young mother aced that SRN exam!

    Steupse.

    I had a beautiful day in Barbados today. Ate lamb stew and lentil pie and planted some cassava and sweet potato. Peas to be planted tomorrow. Going out now to transplant lettuce, cucumber and carrot seedlings.

    Bajan life still continues in my sphere. I plan to enjoy this November Bajan style.

    The USA cannot stop me from planting my food. The USA cannot make me buy their nasty food off the shelves. Ever so often stuff has to be recalled.

    Pacha, I think you have seen too much for your own good. You should have stayed ignorant like me.

    Like

  • Donna, you are on the ball. Very few people realize that seedlings should be transplanted in the evening and watered in the mornings, especially in hot humid climes.

    Like

  • Dame Bajans,

    Yeah, I do my research. I have broken the rules a few times when some other chore or lack of energy stopped me from doing it on time.

    Evening transplant and morning watering works better, though.

    Like

  • Is it not somehow an joke of history? For 200 years our natives have feared the plantation business like the devil fears holy water. Now they call for the plantation. Sir COW was once again the prophet: he has lived on the plantation for a long time.

    Like

  • @Greene
    Ditto. My sentiments exactly. Sometimes i chide myself as i no longer recognize the Barbados/bajans i once knew.

    Like

  • @Tron October 24, 2020 5:58 AM “Is it not somehow an joke of history? For 200 years our natives have feared the plantation business like the devil fears holy water. ”

    Why do you seem surprised that HUMANS fear bad treatment, no or low wages, physical violence and hunger? Don’t all humans fear those things?

    Stupssseee!!!

    However our history did not begin nor end with the Middle Passage. We have always farmed, we will always farm. BUT we do it for ourselves. Our profit is our profit and our loss is our loss.

    Either you are ignorant or pretending to be ignorant. Humanity originated in Africa, and humanity will end in Africa, hopefully not for a few million years more. We were the first farmers, we spread humanity to the whole world. We understand that we come into this world having created nothing. We understand that we have to live worthwhile lives. We understand our history, we understand our work, we understand our potential.

    I will continue to grow food to feed my family, my neighbors, my friends. I give most of it away. Because I can afford to. I know that farming is dignified work. Even while my grandparents were working on the plantation, they continued to work land on their own behalf. My grandmother and her sister [my greataunt Mary was born in 1858, twenty years after ‘legal emancipation”] shortly after put their pennies together and started buying their own plots. My family has farmed from the beginning of time, we will continue to do so until the end of time. Even in the dreadful days of plantation slavery, and the dreadful 100 years which followed “legal emancipation” we endured, we will endure, we will survive, we will thrive, we will prosper. And we will do it without enslaving or exploiting others.

    That is real-real humanity.

    Like

  • Thankfully I have never gone to sleep hungry a single day in my life, even though one of the Bajan haters on this blog made a snide remark a few days ago about people who have difficulty buying themselves a decent meal, and about people buying half an ounce of butter and half an ounce of oil. Grew up making our own butter, kilos and kilos of it. Had no shoes, but always had a belly full of good food.

    Like

  • Pork, poultry products hit hardest by Covid
    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the agricultural sector.
    Yesterday during the Barbados Agricultural Society’s (BAS) annual general assembly meeting held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, chief executive officer James Paul said the pork and poultry industries were affected the most.
    Paul said the pork sector was not able to keep pace with last year’s domestic output of pork, noting the markets for this product were depressed because of the financial situation many Barbadians were facing. He said it was important for the usual points of sales of pork go back to full capacity as this would lead to an increase in pork consumption, adding business for pork producers would be in full swing.
    However, he said that over the past few months there had been a slight increase in production when compared with the same time last year.
    “In May, June, and July of 2020 the figures for slaughtering were below that of the corresponding month of the previous year,” he said. “The exception was June, where production was above that of the corresponding month last year. The average processing figures for the three months in 2019 were 2 153 porkers or approximately 107 683 kilogrammes of pork. The average processing figures for 2020 for the same three months were 2 208 porkers or approximately 110 433 kilogrammes of pork. This suggests pork production is stable and on the way back up, the challenge is to keep it that way,” he said.
    In the case of the poultry industry, Paul said during the months of May, June, July and August poultry placements had been at record lows.
    “Poultry chick sales in the broiler category averaged 611 892 birds while normal placements in the industry average 850 000 to 900 000 birds. There is evidence of this in the market as we have received some complaints from consumers about the availability of fresh poultry meat on weekends.”
    Paul added that during this period it was not easy for producers to predict market demands and the weak performance of the tourism industry made matters worse.
    However, Paul assured that going into the Christmas season chicken supplies should return to a sense of normalcy.
    Another challenge, which was further compounded by the pandemic, was operational costs, he said.
    The BAS boss pointed out that the increased cost of water and fuel and the increase in land tax had made it difficult for farmers to run their businesses.
    Farmers were operating on reduced margins and profits, along with the little reserves they had, Paul said, noting the increases were not passed on to consumers in any significant way.
    Using the dairy sector as an example, Paul said dairy producers were struggling to reach the normal target of six million kilogrammes of milk yearly and added that the projected estimate this year was just over three million.
    Despite the impact of the pandemic production of certain crops such as sweet potatoes, watermelons and pumpkins were relatively stable, he said.
    During the conference, subregional coordinator for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Dr Renata Clarke, said the organisation would be engaging in a number of projects to help develop the island’s agri-sector.
    The projects include animal identification and traceability systems, sanitary and market access, genetic programming and productivity, water and solar harvesting, a fisheries value chain programme.
    (SB)

    Source: Nation

    Like

  • Good girl that, Renata Clarke. Always knew she would end up trying to make a difference. Still got her Angela Davis books on my bookshelf.

    I know she will be pushing the agenda hard.

    Like

  • When I called thrm fossils I get cuss. Happy yo see someone calling then old fogeys…lmbao. Who the 🐈 likes he licks. The villas bout Bim gine be burrrrrst just now. Wunna laughed at me then tuh..🤣

    Like

  • Training for trust loan recipients
    Marlon Madden
    Article by
    Marlon Madden
    Published on
    October 24, 2020

    Entrepreneurs across Barbados continue to take full advantage of Government’s Trust Loan Fund facility as they seek to expand their operations.

    On Thursday, approximately 25 entrepreneurs including some in manufacturing, farming, retail, vending, marketing and the service industry, concluded training in finance management and customer service among other areas.

    Shane Knight, owner of Fresh Farm Foods, one of the participants, told Barbados TODAY he was able to form his business this year, a few months after resigning from his full-time job as a transporter.

    However, about a month after he officially got started through the national $2 million Farmers’ Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme, which started in 2019 and is aimed at helping to reduce the island’s food import, the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

    Knight, who has his vegetable farm in Christ Church, said his loan from the Trust Loan Fund on Thursday would go toward raising chickens and pigs.

    His eight-month-old farm currently produces cucumbers, squash, cassava, tomatoes and potatoes.

    “It will help me to go a little further into my business and it will give me that cushion where I will not have to be under tremendous stress because of the COVID-19. So it will give me that break for me to do better,” he declared.

    Knight told members of the media that starting the business a month prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult, but given that he was involved in the production of food, the pandemic worked in his favour.

    “It was hard to start, but because of COVID I was lucky enough that I reaped crops just in time to get that market boom where there wasn’t imports. So my first reaping was fairly alright, but now things have levelled out, so it is normal for me as a new business. It takes a little adjustment after the first harvest. So it is a little iffy now with sleepless nights, but I think that is part of the business,” he said.

    Knight, who gave up his full-time job to own his own business, said it was always his passion to do farming so he had little problem in “taking the opportunity” last year to leave his job to venture into the FEED programme when he found out about it.

    FEED programme is a three-year programme operated by the Barbados Agricultural, Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC).

    Meanwhile, public transportation operator Junior Reid, who had several jobs at various institutions across the island, said he believed it was time for him to branch out and start a formal business so he turned to the Trust Loan Fund for assistance.

    Reid received his permit to get involved in the Government-run Transport Augmentation programme a few months ago but needed assistance to get his insurance and road tax up to date.

    That was when he decided to apply to the Trust Loan Fund for assistance and he was eager to take part in the training initiatives.

    Reid, who has been in the transport business for the past 12 years and now owns the Dymund Auto Tours company, said he believes the insurance industry could play a greater role in helping to curtail the bad behaviour associated with public service vehicle operators. He said tracking devices were simply not enough.

    “I think the insurance companies can play a part which would help a lot. I think a lot of the younger drivers could be eliminated in that they should not get the licence until age 25 or 26. I believe that will make this business a lot better in all aspects,” he suggested.
    (MM)

    Like

  • Partnerships highlighted
    Mon, 10/26/2020 – 5:16am
    Trust Loan Fund working with SBA, BNSI, BIDC

    Trust Loan Fund Limited has encouraged all of its members to register with the Small Business Association (SBA) and the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI) as it broadens the training programme.

    Speaking at a recent dissemination of loans to entrepreneurs at the Bush Hall Community Centre, Business Development Manager, Kirk Dottin highlighted that the Trust Loan Fund had recently developed a relationship with the SBA to expand the successful training programme of the organisation.

    “We are encouraging all of our members to join the SBA because they do a lot of extra training that we may not be able to afford. So we have developed a relationship with them where all of our new clients are required to register with the SBA to benefit from this training,” explained Dottin.

    The Development manager also commented on the relationship between the trust fund and the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI), where he explained that the relationship had grown further than just for manufacturers.

    “Initially this relationship would only be for manufacturers because we recognised that persons have products and go on the computer and do labels but in terms of promoting products and trying to get outside of the local economy, the contraction due to covid-19 and economic factors, we are in a position now where we are trying to provide … special technical assistance by joining the BNSI and we would assist with the packaging and labeling,” outlined Dottin.

    He also made the point that the Barbados Trust Fund training programme was a systematic process based on a graduation exercise which also includes the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.

    “Once we get persons to export readiness, we will then transfer you to the BIDC and Caribbean Exports who would then do the further promotion because at the Trust Loan Fund, we do not have the expertise for that. So in the ecosystem, in terms of working with small business development, we are partnering with similar agencies to provide additional business development services for our clients,” said the Development manager.

    The Bush Hall training segment by the Barbados Trust Fund is part of the community-based programmes of the organisation and the vision is to have the programmes throughout the island with hopefully one more being conducted before year end in another community.

    Dottin contended that it was good for the Trust Fund to come out into the community instead of holding the sessions at the Trust Fund office location.

    He explained that the benefit of community training is that members of the community could come out and be trained, especially current business owners who are willing to streamline their service. Any members of the community, who have not applied to the Trust Fund for aid, could still be part of the training, which would benefit the small business community significantly. (AS)
    News

    Source: Barbados Advocate

    Like

  • We discussed vending recently. Here is today’s Nation editorial.

    Give vendors a chance
    EIGHT WEEKS AWAY from Christmas 2020, thousands of Barbadians are desperately looking for ways to earn a dollar, particularly those affected by the severe economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. There are many people across this island in an economic predicament.
    One obvious option for some of them in such gloomy circumstances is to try their hand at street vending. This is why the Government must go beyond smooth talking to accommodate these people eager to become small and micro business operators, looking to explore and exploit every possible opportunity. This is a mission-critical issue.
    There was a lot of fanfare in July when the outdoor vendors market on The Mighty Grynner Highway was officially opened, but this dry weather facility remains a one-day-aweek operation. It is not in the path of important foot traffic and some of the operators complain about a severe drop in business since relocating from Cheapside.
    There are genuine problems facing these vendors which must be urgently addressed.
    Vendors know where they want to operate. A look at the expanding curbside activity in Warrens tells the story. The small business people there need a helping hand for their own safety, that of their customers and other motorists.
    The Government must be conscious of the need to help as many of those who were laid off because of the fallout from COVID-19 and who, with very little capital, are trying to be enterprising and thrifty. There is unlikely to be any major uptick in employment, particularly in the tourism sector before Christmas even with the stimulus being offered the hoteliers.
    It is frustrating for people to be dependent on handouts from either the welfare agencies or their parliamentary representatives, which is why there has been this expanding effort by so many people to become risk-takers. They have to be innovative to navigate the hardships of unemployment.
    Vending can enliven sections of The City through open street markets which can be interesting, useful, comfortable and provide a measure of safety. Vendors selling almost everything and providing a wide range of services should be encouraged as Barbados emerges from the devastating economic impact of the pandemic lockdown.
    Our policymakers must find ways of accommodating the vendors with those in the traditional stores to stimulate commerce. They must, of necessity, be established standards for hygiene, food safety, enforced waste management and sanitation. This approach must also be extended to safeguard both vendors and consumers doing business outside of Bridgetown.
    What we must not do as a society is to become emotional about street vending, or be so perverse as to make criminals out of these small entrepreneurs trying to take care of their families.
    Our street vendors must be given a chance to live and become strategic business partners. They must not be viewed as a problem.
    There are genuine problems facing these vendors which must be urgently addressed.

    Like

  • Why should a local retailer want to import pumpkins if there is local supply? There must be more to the story?

    BAS boss objects
    Paul: No need to import pumpkins given surplus
    FARMERS ARE TRYING to get Government to block an attempt to import pumpkins, a key ingredient, as the traditional conkie season approaches.
    Yesterday, the Barbados Agricultural Society’s (BAS) chief executive officer James Paul called a press conference to highlight the move by a retailer.
    Although he did not identify the business or state the quantity the retailer was looking to bring in, Paul said there was a surplus of local pumpkin and there was no need to import any at this time.
    “We are trying to forestall the importation because every year around conkie time, people say there is not enough pumpkins,” he said. “But we have so much pumpkins on the market right now to the point where some farmers are experiencing spoilage because they can’t get them sold.
    Conkie season
    “The conkie season is next month and they looking to stock up on pumpkins, but they ain’t buying local. So we are saying to Government not to issue any import licences for pumpkins. Right now, there is a farmer with over 10 000 pounds and he is looking for a market for that, and there is another producer who has about 500 pounds.
    “There are also a lot of fields planted in pumpkins and they are coming in every week. So we have sufficient supplies.”
    The BAS chief said there was an adequate supply of the crop to rally the country well into the first quarter of next year.
    “At this point in time, Government should show support to its farmers and not allow crops to come into this country to compete with local crops that are already available. Local farmers can’t afford competition.
    “Many of the commodities that come into this country, once there are adequate amounts available locally, there is a high level of spoilage because of that. So, it doesn’t make any sense to import and it is a waste of foreign exchange.”
    Paul added that the relationship between retailers and farmers has to be strengthened and BAS was rolling out an initiative to address the issue.
    “In terms of value chain development, there has not been enough communication between producers and
    retailers. If we can anticipate what their needs are, we would look to develop a planting structure so we can meet those needs and retailers would be assured of a consistent supply of commodities at even more stable prices than in the past.”
    He said BAS would launch a social media campaign next week to encourage Barbadians to buy more local produce as the conkie season approaches.
    When contacted, Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds, whose ministry issues import licences, said he was not aware of any such development but would enquire about the situation. (SB)

    Like

  • David,

    I am growing more optimistic about the prospects of agriculture and its offshoots.

    There are more people interested than one would think. When I buy seedlings and walk about with them in the nearby supermarket ALWAYS somebody excitedly asks me where they can find them. I purchase them from a nearby store. People also pass and compliment my efforts in the garden every day. I am certain that if I sold seedlings and garden supplies I would make some sales.

    People no longer think of farming as a degrading occupation. Attitudes are changing and farming and its offshoots are looking “sexy”. So is entrepreneurship on any scale. Even my nine year old cousin has started a business.

    I have perceived that there emerges a new attitude among average Barbadians that wards off the doom and gloom others seem to be feeling. I don’t hear a lot of complaining. Rather, I see a facing of reality, an adjustment in thinking and a determination to prevail.

    And most Bajans still have a ready smile.

    Keep posting the news!

    Like

  • @Donna

    So far so good. Like you the blogmaster is (quietly) optimistic.

    Like

  • @ Donna October 28, 2020 9:12 AM

    Why not get into the production of dasheen, the growing ‘celebrity-famous’ root crop on the healthy eating block?

    Like

  • Miller,

    Not going commercial. Too late for me. Never even ate dasheen but I’ll try a few eventually, I’m sure.

    Right now I am looking to see what can be done with my aloes. They are looking too lovely to just sit there. I could mix up a home brew for myself.

    Like

  • When is Carmeta Fraser going to celebrated, officially, as a national heroine?

    If Sarah Ann Gill (a former slave owner) can be so ‘anointed’ why not Carmeta and Nanny Grigg?

    Like

  • Google dasheen bush. I think Trinis use it for callaloo. Don’t waste the bush.

    Like

  • “Although he did not identify the business or state the quantity the retailer was looking to bring in”

    This is one of the reasons why these problems surface over and over.

    A reluctance to call names. Cowardice.

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s