Achieving Food Security a Transitory Inconvenience

A country distracted by the pandemic and rightly so, compounded by a snap general election. As if a general election called during a pandemic and all that it ensues wasn’t enough there is the fallout from another 30-0 defeat for all comers. 

To coin a popular phrase used by a former prime minister who presided during the glorious years- the pandemic and current post general elections are merely transitory inconveniences. With the recent ease in COVID 19 protocols the time has come for the underlying issues that effect how we mange our lives to revert to the front burner of focus.

Can you guess what is one of the underlying issues that should concern us? If you cannot watch the video.

T&T Farm

42 thoughts on “Achieving Food Security a Transitory Inconvenience

  1. @David, unfortunately we talk about food security in isolation while not understanding the equally importance of food sovereignty. If only we paid enough attention to the ability of agriculture and the ability to feed ourselves and export value added products, only then will I be convinced we are serious.

    We import eggs in the midst of a glut.

    We have a high percentage of crop wastage and spoilage.

    We have an absence of Argo processing.

    We have pumpkins and other crops going rotten in fields monthly.

    We import a lot of finished products we can produce in Barbados.

    We have a lack of serious farming cooperatives.

    We do not have coordinated planting among farmers .

    We have many unorganized farmers and major distrust.

    We have many dishonest farmers.

    We still have 2022 farmers behaving
    Iike farmers from the 40s.

    We have many farmers who spray with the most dangerous chemicals and sell to the public.

    We have many farmers who are more interested in paying the water bill and workers while not interested in public safety.

    As a farmer with a small 6 acre plot I am concerned about the irresponsible usage of systemic chemicals in an absence of a testing regime for local and imported food crops. Chemical usage in farming is out of control and no policing exist to ensure the public is not harmed. Bajans farmers are now operating like the non national who love for Paraguay, RoundUp etc is beyond comprehension despite warnings by health experts.

    Someday, we as a people will get to the point that substance is more important than a show.

    • @Kammie

      There is great opportunity for us to be more efficient in all spheres of endeavor in the country. This is so for every country it must be said although some are more afflicted than others. We have invested too much money in educating our citizens to be unable to improve glaring areas that need fixing.

  2. @David, I concur. Sadly, we live in a country, where no nonsense, critical thinkers are not embraced but mediocrity is favored. Some may get vexed by the politicians have messed up the minds of many Bajans to accept incompetence. I was remarking to a farmer on yesterday the importance of pooling resources into a viable cooperative to ensure a secondary marketing to create food sovereignty.

    It’s really shameful, that tourism gets the lion share of GOB but even importing brown sugar. A packaging and canning house duly managed by competent and not political appointees or yardfowls should be on the agenda of GOB.

    Listen, to Brasstacks, which encourages complaining and pessimism but seldom challenge listeners to be out the box thinkers or be optimist. Free education in its current format is not encouraging critical or a problem solving ethos among Bajans.

    We are becoming a society of contradictions, smoke and mirrors while the middle class as well as to do suck the nipples of the poor while bragging about flying off to Miami to get kids vaccinated.


    • An issue is that the country is focused on digitalization but in the important agriculture sector we seem happy to pursue traditional means of cultivation which is labour intensive and uneconomic. The decor has moved on. We need to ensure if we are committed to a strategic plan that embraces emerging technology it should be integrated into the non traditional and unsexy sectors to your point Kammie.

  3. All the old planters are now gone.

    They learnt the craft from their parents and their parents from their grandparents.

    No one left to teach the skills and as EWB envisaged, not a cane blade in sight in most places.

    Lawyer that he was he never understood the value of sugar cane in keeping the land available for food crop farming trough crop rotation.

    Besides, he was busy making money from the concretization of the land and crops don’t grow well on concrete.

    Where there is no vision the people perish.

    Were we even to somehow get leaders of the highest integrity it would be to no avail if they had not the vision to see where they were going.

    It is not all doom and gloom though, there are one or two families who still know what to do and are doing it.

  4. Listen, to Brasstacks, which encourages complaining and pessimism but seldom challenge listeners to be out the box thinkers or be optimist.
    Kammie, you are a bright fellow… of the Caswell mold.

    SURELY you understand that brass tacks is just one of the many tools being used to condition Bajans to continue in our brassy ways.
    Brass Tacks is nothing but a cauldron for the refinement of mendicancy. A simple glance at the moderators that are chosen would have been instructive in ANY other society but here in Brass Land.
    A litany of jokers who all do unproductive ‘jobs’ and whose instructions seem to be – to keep the focus on cut throat politics and petty issues such as whose garbage did not get collected yesterday.

    Have you noticed how they down press our boy BAFFY?

    The very fact that they INSIST on keeping Petra Wicky as a moderator all the way from his husbands’ home in FRANCE, tells you their intent…

    Is there a successful FARMER ever invited to host the show to inform and guide young aspiring farmers as to how SUCCESS may be achievable?
    Name a successful local HOTELIER (does such an animal exist?) who has been used by Brass Tacks to educate Bajans about our main local industry?
    Recall a major Credit Union leader (we no longer own any bank) who could be an inspiration and educator for FINANCIAL success? (and who were not politically partisan)
    etc etc…
    Even the ‘alright’ moderators like Walter B – tend to be politically tainted – only encouraging the daily regular idiots and yard fowls -failures, who mostly ‘don’t even have two dollar coins to rub together’, but yet on the radio every day pontificating about national issues….

    As Bushie said (over and over) more that ten years ago now, when Harold Hoyte and company sold out the Nation to the Trickidadians, they were in fact selling the country into slavery…. When the MIND of the people are CONDITIONED to mendicancy and servitude, the body has no choice but to follow…

    Look around us today….

  5. @ John February 17, 2022 9:10 AM
    It is not all doom and gloom though, there are one or two families who still know what to do and are doing it. (Unquote).

    Good commentary there, Sir John!

    And you can bet your ‘bottom’s’ dollar that there will be another Governor Bush(e) experiment should there be any hostilities in Europe or the South China seas.

    But it would be called on this occasion ‘the President’s plan to stave off Bajan starvation’.

  6. Mavericks are quickly labelled “MAD” in Barbados. Barbadians love people who come off the robotic conveyor belt.

    The few people who recognise the value of a maverick and try to promote them are shouted down by the robots.

    Often, mavericks who challenge the poorakey system get tired and give up. One must be very strong to be a successful maverick in Barbados.

    You know, David?

    • We are a conservative people Donna by design. Maybe the solution is as Mottley suggest, import foreign labour to create a hybrid DNA.

  7. Kammie,

    The farmers have the St. George Co-operative as an example. If they don’t follow suit then they are not serious.

    Just yesterday, I passed an agricultural plot that looked real green and asked the driver who plants there.

    “A mad woman,” he informed me.

    “She en suh mad dat she cyan do better dan de sane people. Bout deh lookin’ green, green, green wid water melon.” I replied.

    An weh she got dum, nuhbody cyan carry dum way.

    Two days ago, I spoke to a friend who was instrumental in getting the St. George Co-operative going. She has her own little processing plant at home where she makes Bajan treats out of every damn fruit she can find on any tree that she is given permission to reap.

    She takes that money and invests it. She lives off her regular salary.

    She also has been labelled not mad but very very odd by Barbadians.

    Marion Harte, a woman after my own heart in the mould of a Carmeta Fraser too was labelled by many around her. I cannot tell how many times I told people that you have to try and understand the quirks of these talented people and work with them.

    Tasted some products she developed and they were heavenly.

    But we Bajans prefer to beat up on mavericks.

  8. @ David,
    I am glad the BU family was able to view the Aljazeera documentary I posted. This programme exposed how food fraud is endemic within the multi-billion agricultural and food processing industry. Food imports should come with a health warning.

    The GOB must implement a plan to ensure Barbados becomes self-sufficient in food production. Take a look at the Frankenstein processed food sold at Massy’s which is contributing towards the decline in the health of our citizens; adding to the pressure on our health authorities and contributing towards our decline in foreign reserves,. Sweet potatoes, avocados, and breadfruit are in hot demand. We are now creating flour from a number of our vegetables. There is an international niche market just waiting to be exploited.

    The gentleman in the video highlights how much knowledge the elders have especially when it comes to all things agricultural and the properties inherent within the numerous plants and vegetables grown on the island. I would put our Donna within this category. Unfortunately she prefers to burrow down rabbit holes in her fruitless tangles with Waru and half of the BU family. It is unedifying and rather sad.

    Kammie made a very important point concerning the use of chemicals within our agricultural industry. Many of these chemicals are banned in the UK and Europe. But not in the USA where standards are very low.

  9. @Donno, Marion Harte is my aunt and we grew up in Cliff St John. My gran mother had a small half acre we cultivated with sugar cane and herbs.

    This post will not get many posters and that is instructive of the personas in Bim

  10. DonnaFebruary 17, 2022 10:44 AM

    Mavericks are quickly labelled “MAD” in Barbados. Barbadians love people who come off the robotic conveyor belt.


    All the Mavericks left Barbados hundreds of years ago.

    The Mavericks were a Quaker family who owned land up in the Pico Tenerife area.

    They ended up in Texas where they became cattle ranchers and the cattle they owned became known as Mavericks.

    Related to the Barrows.

    Joyce Gale, Dr. Gale’s wife who was a Barrow told me she attended a Maverick family reunion in Texas years ago.

    I suspect when they were in Barbados in the 17th and 18th centuries they probably imported cattle from America for use as draft animals and for sale and kept them in the stone pens in the Pico Tenerife area.

    Probably unloaded in Speightstown and walked up to the pasture at Pico where they were corralled.

    I’ve heard many explanations of the dry stone walls in the Pico area but I believe this is the best explanation I know of so far.

    It fits the old maps.

    There is also a area on the North West coast of St. Lucy called Jordan’s Cow Pen on the early maps and still known this way to this day.

    Suspect the early Jordan family, also Quakers were into trade via Speightstown with relatives in America and they imported cattle.

    Sarah Ann Gill would have been a descendant of that early family.

  11. Kammie HolderFebruary 18, 2022 12:11 AM

    @Donno, Marion Harte is my aunt and we grew up in Cliff St John. My gran mother had a small half acre we cultivated with sugar cane and herbs.

    This post will not get many posters and that is instructive of the personas in Bim


    Cliff plantation was owned by John Rous in the 17th century. He married the step daughter of George Fox who stayed at his father’s plantation Halton, when he visited the island in 1671 on his way to America, via Jamaica.

    All Quakers!!

    The families surrounding the plantations owned small plots and probably possessed skills which were of use on the plantation.

    One of my earliest Quaker ancestors owned a plot adjoining Cliff Plantation back then.

    I believe he was a blacksmith.

    His son William was a stone mason who got put in stocks on Christmas day 1676 for working building a wall in the Quaker Burying Ground, I suspect the one near to St. Philip’s Church.

    Quakers were persecuted at varying times during their time here.

    John Todd the elder gave his hose as a Meeting Room.

    Looks like he would have lived at what is known as Clifden which is near to Cliff Plantation.

    I suspect that was what became known as The Cliff Meeting.

    Most of that area was Quaker owned at one time as was most of Barbados.

    Many Quakers went to Philadelphia, Virginia, New England and South Carolina or returned to England.

    Those that stayed reverted to C of E.

    By the 1760’s most were gone.

    They opened the West in the US.

  12. Is agro science: aquaculture; horticulture or animal husbandry on the primary school curricula?
    Are there any cooperatives of any kind in primary schools; do primary school/ secondary school students go on educational fishing trips ?
    Have any of you ever seen a child pass for one of the top schools by coming “ first” in any subject related to agriculture; horticulture or aquaculture
    Do any of you see high school children given the opportunity to manage one of the run down plantations’ land; have you ever heard that a successful fisherman was invited to “ career” day at a school;
    Have any of you ever visited a garden shop in Amurca and seen plants that grow behind “we pailing”grossing billions of dollars; have any of you ever heard about exporting tropical fish , one of the biggest industries; do you see any cou cou packaged and properly marketed on food shelves in super markets outside of Bim; did you ever see a Bajan made kite in a sports shop outside of Barbados; have any of you ever seen locally made mahogany furniture in any showroom any part of the world………,…
    Are you all familiar with the Troubadours hit instrumental song : talk ?
    Think about these things and WE will see the bigger picture.

  13. William SkinnerFebruary 18, 2022 5:58 AM



  15. 8:23
    Great video.
    Would be great to see similar videos from Barbados.

    Hold your horses… just share the link if some are available. This is a case where I don’t mind being wrong, but don’t tell me, just show me that I am wrong.

  16. There’s plenty of young people intetested in farming in Barbados. Those who are interested are REALLY interested. They actually love it. It is as much of a calling as teaching and nursing.

    These young people just need a leg up and they will feed us.

    It isn’t that hard really. Most things aren’t, with the right attitude.

    • @Donna

      Bright sparks in the agriculture sector needs to be given direction by strategic priorities and structure. It is too ad hoc.

  17. David,

    It is exactly as Kammie says. This I know having worked in the agricultural environment for seventeen years without actually farming myself.

    The older farmers are very resistant to co-ordinating crop planning with each other and taking advice from scientists. There is a lack of trust between the farmers and the usual resistance to change. Change takes great effort but offers great rewards.

    Perhaps Kammie should do a video of his farm and post it here. That would be a start to what TheO suggested.

  18. Great post, the blogger may be prescient…. The greatest problems for this century will be the availability of clean water and an adequate food supply.

    Our problem is water scarcity but this can be solved by investing in desalination plants, homes having water tanks to help catch rainwater, and sound management of our ground water supply.. We must protect our supply from covid-19 (🐰).

    Food supply must be urgently addressed as in a world shortage our “Mickey Mouse” dollars will be useless.

    These are situations where being on a 2×3 island may be to our advantage, but foresight and planning are needed.

  19. The KEY to success in farming is to establish reliable and secure markets.
    When Trinidad took control of BNB, BS&T etc, what they effectively did was to leverage the successful Barbados Tourism market (our best bet yet for an ‘export market’) and also the local domestic retain market.
    They made these investments to support their home-based agriculture and and agro-processing industries.

    Of course they took over the news agencies FIRST, so that their ‘plants’ (pun intended) could keep us assured that there is no need for us to get the vaseline… and convince us that we should be happy with the ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ ie the pieces of silver…

    Meanwhile, we Barbadians were focused on getting every single BB citizen ‘qualified’ with an advanced degree in some esoteric nonsense…
    Now even if we could start a super farm (as some have) , who will we sell the produce to…? MASSEY?
    Horse left stable long time….

    • Agree with a lot of this comment Bush Tea. Our domestic market is small but where will the confidence come to spark the entrepreneurial flame in any sector, this case agriculture. Where does that winning mindset come?

  20. @BT 11:19
    Very good. Almost brilliant.
    Insight, hindsight and foresight. All three are exhibited in the first paragraph.

    We cannot use hindsight as if it is the only tool in our toolbox. The B&D games are of no use to us. This second 30-0 provides an opportunity for Mia to ‘reset’ and channel Lee Kuan Yew (the benevolent dictator).

    Going to stray a little …
    Let’s get some far reaching national policies in place.
    Vaccine scams
    EWBSB (forgot what that was)
    Slogan scams all become things of the past

    Integrity legislation, sunshine laws, reform of the justice system becomes the new model.

  21. Two issues
    (1) We like to parcel out issues when it is one big twisted ball of twine. The article touches on food security, but we need to address water scarcity at the same time. BT also points out that tweaks may be needed to our education system. We need to direct not only labor but some of our brains towards food production. The kitchen garden model may not be adequate.

    (2) There is low hanging fruits that we refused to pick. Example… I am not a lawyer, but it should be easy to separate a lawyers fees and a client funds (without amputating an arm)

    We need to capture and move pieces off of the board; advancing them or moving them sideways and keeping them on the board is not the solution.

  22. Still too much stealing
    Still to many monkeys
    Biggest greenhouse I have seen on island so far seem to have lost all it roof in the hurricane – 2/3 of roof still missing

    Bananas and coconuts seems to be taking over from sugar (and bush) plantations in the Scotland areas
    Sugar cane planting seems to be on the increase but the quality of canes seems to be very poor compared to back when sugar was king

    Cotton tree seems to be a lot shorter – may be planting for mechanical harvesting

    Root crops seem to be greatly reduced
    Eddoes and yams I have not seem on plantation land but there are lots being sold by vendors.

  23. 🙂
    I said almost, so that should not count as a ‘brilliant’. Perhaps I should us a 0 to 1 scale… Almost a 1.

  24. It appears to me that Emerald City sells local produce aplenty. Often I have seen that imported produce seems to appear when there is no local produce available.

    There are several vendors outside of Massy in Six Rds selling local priduce. They don’t seem concerned about competition.

    The key to having a market for our priduce is to have a consistent supply and quality that can come from the co-ordination Kammie spoke about and improved farming techniques. This could also make for more competitive prices.

    The hotels and restaurants in Barbados are also quite willing to buy good quality local produce but they must have reliability.

    All chefs know that fresh not only is best but also TASTES best.

    There is NOTHING that chefs like better than FRESH produce.

    The problem is not demand. It is supply. Good quality available as promised.

    One cannot wait until two days before you need produce to order your supply from overseas.

  25. @ Donna
    Just came from an Indian supermarket. Unbelievable the number of tamarind based products.
    We are not serious! You are correct, we need to understand that hit and miss agriculture will not work.
    We also need aggressive laws against crop and animal theft.
    Th only thing I can’t find in Farmers markets here is dunks. Even found a different variety of goose berries.
    We can make millions from agro industries . I drink sugar cane juice two to three times a week, straight from the cane , that is placed in a sugar. cane juicer.
    We used to export tamarind to India.
    Time for us to shit or get off the pot, when it comes to agriculture.

  26. The unfunded pension fund for the public service will sink us.

    $1b. for retirees
    GOVERNMENT HAS BUDGETED that it will have to pay public sector retirees more than $1 billion in pension, gratuity and other benefits over the next three years.
    It includes $321.4 million due in the new financial year starting April 1, as specified in the 2022/2023 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure being debated from today in the House of Assembly.
    Current estimates are that these payments to former Government employees will increase in the next three financial years, reaching about $382.5 million in 2024/2025.
    New entrants to the Civil Service may, however, have new retiring arrangements in the future, as under Barbados’ International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, the authorities have committed to introducing a revised public pension law by the end of next month.
    The Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment says in the 2022/2023 Estimates that retiring benefits for former civil servants will be $282 million in the new financial year, up from $269.1 million in the current year which ends on March 31.
    The budget document explained that this money “provides for the payment of gratuities and pensions to former Government employees, judges, parliamentarians, prime ministers and the Governor General (President) in accordance with relevant Pension Acts and Regulations”. It also includes payment of widows and children pensions.
    Government will also have to pay the above individuals $39.5 million in “other retiring benefits” in the next year (versus $38.3 million in 2021/2022). This money “provides for the payment of cost of living allowances . . . as well as ex gratia awards approved by the relevant authority”.
    On February 11 at the end of a visit via videoconferencing with Government, IMF Barbados team leader Bert van Selm said work “has been initiated on reforms to enhance the sustainability of
    the public sector pension scheme”.
    Last December, after the financial institution’s executive board approved the sixth review of Barbados’ Extended Fund Facility, deputy managing director and acting chair Bo Li said the IMF directors had “stressed the need to support fiscal sustainability through pension reform”.
    Pension reform
    Government said in its most recent Supplementary Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies with the IMF, published in the December 2021 country report released ahead of the January 19 General Election, that “Civil Service pension reform aimed at ensuring that the system is sustainable in the long run is a priority”.
    “We will review the Civil Service pension scheme to address its long-run sustainability. To this end, we will table in Parliament a revised public pension law informed by the actuarial review that was completed in November 2020 and costed different pension systems for new entrants into the public service,” Government said in the memorandum.
    “We have completed a pension reform White Paper and will discuss it in Cabinet. However, this reform requires careful public consultation, which has so far not been possible given the urgent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore need to push back this structural benchmark until end-March 2022.

  27. David,

    I doubt the people of Russia or the Ukraine would allow the death of black Barbadians to spoil one minute of their day.

    Took some years but I no longer shed tears for those upon whose radar my own death would fail to register.

    I leave the family members to sort out their family matters and seek only to minimise the damage to me and mine.

    P.S. I see Baje has missed the point you were trying to make, even though you made it quite clearly. Lol. You, David, must have a heart to continue this work!

    • @Donna

      The blogmaster prefers to hold a position of nurturing the best feeling that a good human being should encourage.

  28. The growing importance of food security
    Over recent years we have witnessed several happenings or phenomena that have occurred with no explanations or misleading ones from our leaders and/or the press.
    These include “Brexit”, followed closely by “Trump”.
    In both of these examples the demographic divide between the voters existed simply between rural and urban demographics. You can ignore all the other simplistic labels like right-wing conservatives and evangelicals. A divide is growing between the primary food producers – the farmers – who must buy at retail prices and sell wholesale with their farm-gate prices seldom reaching 40 per cent of the consumer market price and the consumers.
    The European Union seriously damaged both the agricultural and fishing industries in the United Kingdom and we wonder why their rural people voted to leave the European Union –Brexit. At the same time, the American farmers are beginning to realise that they have been mistreated and ignored for too long, with poor infrastructure and second-class education and health facilities, while their compatriots in the cities, who have the greater voting power, get the cream in social services.
    Are we taking note?
    We now have Russia grabbing a “breadbasket” in Ukraine like a “putain” claiming their “puteria”.
    Are we in Barbados taking note and truly understanding
    what is happening in the international geopolitical sphere? Should we not be preparing to respond to what the future will likely bring for us (who cannot feed ourselves, despite the plausible efforts of our agricultural administrators) when the world’s food production fails to meet the consumption demand – the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation has termed it the “crunch”.
    That we have access to a “potential breadbasket” is not enough because hungry people will not be able to wait until the potential of that “breadbasket” is developed. Planning for that needs to start now. If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there.
    Round and round we go like water in a sinkhole vortex.
    – Peter Webster

    Source: Nation

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