Barbados needs to protect local food production
BU commenter Colonel Buggy responded to the question on the blog Tourism Sector a Cadre of Beggars – what is the answer for food security and the reduction of the food import bill in Barbados …?
First of all we have to instil in our people the need to eat what we grow, and not to hanker for the fast foods, whose raw materials are mostly imported. Or, as the Dipper would have said, we have to take back the hearts and minds of our people from the Confederate Colonel of the South.
Free up some of the hundreds of acres of former productive lands, now in bush, to persons interested in farming.
Allow farmers, who so wish to live on the land, even if they are restricted to chattel homes only, as this is one measure that will minimise the incidents of praedial larceny. And all farmers living on and working their lands should be exempt the impost of this increase in land tax,which came in the guise of a solid waste tax.
Many countries give meaningful concessions to farmers, i.e. duty free equipment. In Barbados, concessions are so petty and bureaucratic that many farmers prefer not to bother with them. During the last war, and subsequently in National Service, in the UK, many farmers and farm workers were exempt military service, as farming was seen as an essential National Service of its own.And this is still true today.
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Submitted by Damian Hinkson
Without the microbiology farmers will have to use more and more, chemical energy to get the same amount of produce.
If farming were easy we would all be doing it! after all Food is our most basic need. So it stands to reason that farming should be profitable. However that’s not the case. I will point out why using 3 points below and then explain one solution to make farming profitable in Barbados.
Click to read full text of the speech (Adobe PDF)
Dr. Chelston Brathwaite with Minister Estwick
“It has been reported that Barbados current food import bill is in the region of $800 million dollars annually. The Minister of Agriculture has also stated that 65 percent of our food is produced locally. This means we import 35 percent of our food. Our total food bill is therefore almost $2.3 billion dollars annually. This translates to over $20 per day for every man, woman and child. Note that this is the cost at the point of production (or importation) and not point of sale. The cost at point of sale (supermarket, shop, restaurant etc.) would be higher to account for storage and distribution, profit, spoilage etc. To get an idea of what this means lets look at a family of 4 shopping for all their food in a supermarket. This amounts to over $600 per week or $2400 per month.
I find this hard to believe. Either the $800 million dollars per year is incorrect or the 65 percent is incorrect. I tend to believe the 65 percent is incorrect and the Minister has the percentages reversed. In other words, we import 65 percent of our food. If this is correct we have a very long way to go towards food security.”
The above was submitted by Bentley where he raises the issue of food security which should concern all Barbadians. Although many Barbadians are indoctrinated and intoxicated by the benefits of globalization, a man made construct, BU subscribes to the position that a country is responsible for safeguarding its basic needs.
Relevant Link: CARDI Agriculture News
Submitted by Charles Knighton
Do we as humans understand our relationship with the environment?
“Almost a quarter of Europe’s bumblebees are at risk of extinction due to loss of habitats, climate change, the intensification of agriculture and changes in agricultural land.” Study: A quarter of Europe’s bumblebees face extinction, 3 April Barbados Advocate
Insects are under siege not just in Europe but worldwide, including Barbados.
On the first of November last year, when Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day from points north. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned. This year, for the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t arrive that day. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers even when compared to the record-low numbers of 2012. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.
From 1992 through 1994, my wife and I spent our days exploring Barbados in a quest to determine the butterflies indigenous to Barbados, as well as their critically important larval host plants. Having determined such, we arranged our plantings to facilitate a thriving butterfly sanctuary, which incidentally attracted other insect pollinators such as honeybees and bumblebees. Alas, while the plants still beckon, these ecologically critical insects have become virtually nonexistent.