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.
The following extract about Aquaponics submitted by Ready done
Aquaponic farming dates back to the Aztecs but due to the currently available combination of cheap plastics and Magnetic drive pumps it was recently re-discovered and improved upon as a viable organic farming method. The system is designed to hold fresh water fish in tanks, in conjunction with plants in large plant pots. Fast draining Coconut fibre is used as an alternative to soil for when the fish’s water is pumped through the plant pots. The coconut fibre act like a battery holding the manure as the plant’s roots uses it yet it constantly re-charges from the fresh fish waste in the water stream as it passes through. The raw fish waste is converted by natural bacterial process that results in completely fertilized plants and clean water for fish.
Our mission is to bring aquaponics to the masses, to have AP systems as common place as the refrigerator, which, though it seems far fetch at this time is possible because AP produces food while a fridge only stores it. Ongoing efforts to get households growing food using aquaponics has allowed us to position ourselves as market leaders in the small but rapidly growing Aquaponics community on the island. We have acquired an intimate knowledge of what the industry requires and are seeing a dramatic increase of interest in the system by vastly diverse groups of people.
Submitted by Bentley Norville
“…our food import bill around 800 to 900 million dollars a year …”
With all the recent and current talk on agriculture and our gargantuan food import bill a serious rethink on how we acquire our food is urgently required. With our food import bill around 800 to 900 million dollars a year we cannot afford not to.
When we look at agriculture as it’s now practiced we recognise that sugar cane cultivation accounts for most of our agriculture land. A quick look at sugar production reveals that the yield as measured in weight per square foot per year is only 0.15lb/sq.ft./yr. By contrast food production, using methods currently practiced elsewhere – see video - can yield from 1.0 up to 5.0 (and beyond) lb/sq.ft./yr.
It has been argued that we need to continue sugar production for a number of reasons. Following are the arguments against these so-called reasons:
Cabinet of Barbados
In the last six years Barbados has been consumed by an unprecedented type of polarising politics. It is a politics which has reordered national priorities. No longer are decisions made on the basis of what is important on the national front but more to do with what is politically expedient. Political pundits had warned that the 2-seat majority government which resulted from the last general election would have landed us here. A classic illustration is the government’s commitment to send home 3,000 public sector workers but because of political imperatives the national exigency has had to be sacrificed, the result; a bloated Cabinet.
Perhaps the best example of politics trumping commonsense and national interest is the 9-day topical issue - the Estwick Affair. One member of parliament holds the trump card (theoretically) which potentially affects the balance of government in Barbados. Whereas Arthur would have fired Estwick from Cabinet a long time ago – he had bench strength in the House – Prime Minister Stuart is forced to tolerate a minister who has made it known publicly he disagrees with Cabinet; a severe break from convention. BU referred to Estwick’s trump card as theoretical because he has developed the reputation as a bluffer.
If the country was focussed on the national priority we should be grilling Estwick about what the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has achieved under his stewardship since 2010. Insiders are aware it took several days of suasion to get him to accept the agriculture ministry.
Submitted by Ready done
We believe in Aquaponics, it is an idea that solves so many problems we are currently facing towards becoming a circular economy. Kristen Adams of Adams Aqualife recently won the Bank On Me competition, highlighting the massive available liquidity in the fish farming market. No doubt interest in fish farming is on the increase.
Submitted by Ready Done
’6,889 early adopters of Aquaponics systems needed’
I got home yesterday and heard the unmistakable voice of my first crush Jacqueline Yvonne ‘Jackée’ Harry, there she was standing on that same step in a tight blue dress as curvy as l remember her. My daughter was watching the show 227, she likes the 80s era, as she puts it “ancient times”. This is the meaning of the information age. The generation X crew have a difficult time understanding how differently we accessed information. When I was her age 227 was after my bed time hour, My only opportunity to watch Jackée was on my visit to the bathroom, and I would walk as slowly as possible the ten foot distance to ogle Jackée.
I also ran home from school to watch Sesame Street. I had to fight sleep to watch X Files and Allo Allo. This generation knows nothing about waiting for information, the feeling of not having a conversation about last night’s TV show because you missed it is foreign to them . They get the news as it happens in detail, we only heard about bad car accident and saw a pic from a distance in the newspaper the next day. Our children get video of the accidents sometimes 5 minutes after it happens.