The Plight of the Local Dairy

Image Credit - Rosemary Parkinson

Image Credit – Rosemary Parkinson

The following article was extracted from Rosemary Parkinson’s Facebook Page. She has become known on Facebook and BU as a strident advocate for one cause or the other as it affects Bajans. A read of Rosemary’s Bio can be an intimidating experience; where does she find the time and energy!  At the core of what she does is publishing books about the foods of our region BUT her interest gleaned from her BIO is far-flung.

Love it. First OUR LOCAL DAIRY tries to fool the people with their so-called “fresh” milk that was not fresh but some new-fangled bad-tasting excuse for milk that could last on a shelf for 90 days.

When the people screamed, OUR LOCAL DAIRY thought they could fool even more people by putting same into the coolers of supermarkets but the taste remained the same and no matter what OUR LOCAL DAIRY did for marketing, nothing worked.

CEO of OUR LOCAL DAIRY says “consumption not like it used to be”…well Sir WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, PRAY TELL? You admitted that people used to drink more milk in the past…so you gave yourself the answer one time but just in case you still doan get it. WHEN THAT HORRIBLE MILK DID NOT SELL, WHY DID YOU NOT TAKE YOUR LOSSES, SCRAP DE PROCEDURE AND REVERT TO THE REAL MILK THAT HAD BEEN SELLING WELL FOR YEARS EH? Oh! No! No!…you believed that we the people would soon get over our disgust and begin the consumption of what you felt we had to consume whether we liked it or not. Perhaps your marketing man should have heeded my words at BMEX when you first launched there and he insisted this milk was “fresh from the cow”…for I said clearly…THE PEOPLE WILL NOT LIKE THIS…YOU WILL LOSE!

It took awhile to sink in…and then outta de blue…without much pomp…you tried in a most limp manner to re-introduce a fresh milk but de people dem by then had lost faith in your marketing…everyone wondered what was in there this time? Ya try to fool some of de people dem, some o’de time, but ya cyan’t fool all de people, all de time. Simple ting.

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN STRONGLY. But still instead of doing the right thing, you gine punish we….yes…you will punish the country…by your decision to buy less milk and force dairy farmers to cut back production and therefore their herd AND THEREFORE THEIR EMPLOYEES, SOME OF WHOM HAVE BEEN WORKING THESE FARMS FOR YEARS AND WHOSE FAMILIES RELY ON THIS MONEY TO FEED AND CLOTHE AND EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN.

….and to add insult to injury…what a lot of people ent know is that our local dairy has been playing “Let’s take a roller coaster ride” with dairy farmers for a long long time now lowering the contracted price as they feel and further…”increase the herd” “decrease the herd” “increase the herd” no no no “decrease the herd”…perhaps LOCAL DAIRY your real goal is to just close down the dairy farming industry in this country in order to allow for the importation of powder milk from China et al or wait…maybe…maybe…could it be? No! I do not want to believe it…PHD from a parent company in a neighbouring island eh? No! Never! Bajans would not do that to Bajans. But it is food for thought one has to admit! SHAME SHAME SHAME.

Perhaps this is the time for A NEW CO-OPERATIVE DAIRY that will purchase the farmers production of the good old fashioned milk we were accustomed to in the past. A CO-OPERATIVE WHERE FARMERS ALSO HAVE DAIRY FARMERS TIME TO GET TOGETHER…GO BACK TO GOOD OLD ORGANIC GRAZING…..GIVE US THE GOOD STUFF AND PUT OUR LOCAL DAIRY OUTTA THEIR MISERY. GOAT FARMERS JOIN THE DAIRY FARMERS WITH GOAT MILK….PERHAPS YOU BOTH CAN CREATE YOUR OWN PASTEURIZING PLANT (get an EU grant). DESIGN GREAT LABELS, ORGANIZE SOME COOL MARKETING AND BRING BACK THE REAL THING INTO OUR DIETS. Using both these milks, we could also have great yoghurt, incredible cheeses…AND STOP ALL THE DYAMNED IMPORTS!!! I PUT MY ENERGY WHERE MY MOUTH IS AND WOULD BE PREPARED TO HELP HERE..

We got ‘nuff money floating ‘bout on this island but those who have it seem to not have any creativity imbedded in their DNA. If I had money (and perhaps a certain very wealthy dairy farmer might just take note – WE DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO GOVERNMENT FOR EVERY LITTLE THING) this would be what I would invest in big time. Cheese is not difficult to make…and experts are already here who can teach locals…and if they do not want to…bring in a few from Italy…New Zealand wherever…we bring in experts to talk shite and do nothing…bring in some for a change with an agenda…an agenda to give us the knowledge to create all manner of products from dairy…de guy in these photos makes an incredible butter right here…and garlic spreads…some with dried local tomatoes…delicious yoghurts – savoury or sweet with our local fruit! And what about beautiful Gelato ice creams (I know a young man in Italy who would come here like a shot to teach the latter and he knows our fruit, did all the studies, and has used them all in ice cream + more…!) WE ARE IMPORTING STUFF WE CAN MAKE HERE. Does not take a rocket scientist…just a government who would do all in its power to give us the food security we need so desperately at this time.

LAWD I GET SO VEXED AT THOSE WHO GOT IT AND PUT IT INTO CONCRETE INSTEAD OF INTO FOOD!!!

By the way…I have been EATING THE FABULOUS CHEESE MADE BY THIS ITALIAN (perhaps he could work as a consultant…who knows?) FROM GOAT’S MILK purchased at HOAD FARMS with COW’S MILK FROM GREENWICH FARMS…have documented the making of same in my book – Barbados Bu’n-Bu’n. For months now I have been drinking delicious fresh cow’s milk from Greenwich Farms (just call and collect or get same every Sunday at Holders Farmers Market)…have been at the farm, seen the whole procedure…the cows graze like cows should…milk is taken from them under the most hygienic of systems…and for the first time in ages I have begun to enjoy milk to the fullest…’cause it is totally delicious, even got all that lovely thick cream at the top! So? Bet if great high quality milk and its by-products were on the shelves well packaged, with a marketing thrust behind same…the people would buy. How about “Shock Your Parents, Demand Milk!”

IT IS CERTAINLY WORTH A TRY BEFORE YOU BUCKLE UNDER THE PRESSURE OF GREED. Just my gut feeling….for life can be simple and there is always an answer to stupidity. Or is there? Sometimes I do wonder!

And now further…the news that farmers might have to or are considering dumping milk…now really really really….why not give same to all the schools, the children’s homes, the homes for the elderly, both government and private eh? That little idea not on anyone’s agenda? You rather just throw it all away? Are we following the ways of the US here? And the same goes for farmers that cannot get rid of their produce…every thought that those in need might be so happy to receive? FRESH FOOD SHOULD NEVER BE DUMPED!!!!

I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF OUR DAIRY FARMERS REFUSED TO SELL OUR LOCAL DAIRY ANY MILK FOR ONE WEEK BUT INSTEAD GAVE IT AWAY? OR SOLD IT REALLY REALLY CHEAP TO PEOPLE AND/OR INSTITUTIONS…ALL IT NEEDS IS A BOILING IF YOU FEEL THAT THE MILK WOULD BE SAFER….AND IF TRANSPORTATION OF SAME IS A PROBLEM, HAVE PEOPLE COME TO THEIR PARTICULAR DAIRY AND PICK IT UP….MAYBE I AM NOT SEEING ALL THE PROBLEMS BUT…SURELY THERE IS A SOLUTION…YES! TAKE THE LOCAL DAIRY TO COURT IF YOU HAVE TO FARMERS BUT MEANWHILE??? HOW ABOUT GETTING TOGETHER WITH A PLAN??

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93 Comments on “The Plight of the Local Dairy”

  1. Rosemary Parkinson January 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM #

    I am still at a loss to understand why government must intervene in this…what do the dairy farmers want government to do apart from buy the dyamed LOCAL DAIRY? Nothing is going to change unless the owners decide to (a) revert back to fresh milk, leave out the nasty PHD, and start to diversify making other by-products, and making them well. I know they make a type of yoghurt – not sure what to call it although “cornstarch” induced put in above does seem very clear to me. But I did say making them well with expertise brought in to ensure this is done.

    (b) the farmers get a good, decent respectful price for their milk that allows them also to live a decent, respectful life.

    OR (c) which is the option I see as best…farmers form a co-op to make excellent ‘clean’ dairy products (grass grazing cows are a must!) as I have indicated above and no! this is not impossible but would make Barbados the only island in the Caribbean that does this to the highest standards.

    …..the only intervention required by government would help government’s coffers…i.e. give duty free concessions for the supplies required to make such a venture viable and put a hold on the quantity of imports of milk and its by-products…not saying stop the importation but make a quota to give such a venture a chance.

    Today’s advocate:
    http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=local&NewsID=28494

    Like

  2. BAFBFP January 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM #

    No, I say stop the blasted importation …

    To The Point
    Glad you see the point.

    Pat
    When you come down you must try some ah de men too … Naturally raised

    Like

  3. hilaryantiques January 2, 2013 at 8:16 PM #

    I have read the comments here and am shocked by the mass of people being uninformed. when Pine Hill changed over to UHT they brought a gentleman over from Holland who advised all us farmers to increase the herds and produce more and more milk so they could pay the excess price for all the extra milk and then export it. I pointed out that in a very dry season there would be no food for all these extra animals, I also pointed out that the milk would not sell with the foul taste, I then began to trim down my herd and find outside outlets for my milk. Why couldn’t other farmers see this coming? In UK the farmers have had to bring in other forms of income by converting their old buildings into holiday lets, some started making Ice Cream and other dairy products, some let some of the land to people with horses they all had to find another income, so this is what farmers here must do look for another income to work alongside the cow’s or Barbados will lose the whole dairy industry. Work together go forward with idea’s but don’t rely on Pine Hill or government to find the answer it has to come from the farmer’s. Pine Hill has back tracked and now produce the red box milk again very drinkable if everyone just drank 1 litre of this a day the problem would go away so help the farmer’s by doing this. As for the milk at Holder’s Farmers market this is raw milk and costs $15.00 for half a gallon and whoever said it was full of white people is wrong we have all different nationalities colours and religions coming every week so don’t be put off by the ill informed. The market is there for everyone and it is just what the west coast needed, don’t knock it that’s pure ignorance. I rest my case

    Like

  4. David January 2, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

    @hilaryantiques

    If you can see that there is a need for the dairy farmer to diversify the offering why is Sir Cow, James Paul et al meeting with the PHD to extend the quotas? This is obviously not a sustainable tactic?

    On 3 January 2013 00:16, Barbados Underground

    Like

  5. Saint Nick January 2, 2013 at 9:04 PM #

    You are right. ‘ We have no other to blame but ourselves.’ What is not understood, is that, as we sell off our industries/ sectors to Foreigners for a few cents/ dollars because of greed or in some cases foreign exchange earnings, watchdogs such as the Exchange Control, B’dos Securities & Stock Exchange and even the G’ovt through the Min. of Finance (irrespective of who is in power) do not adequately/thoroughly scrutinize MOU’s and Sale Contracts relative to the sale of local companies. Therefore, this means that protective mechanisms are not demanded by these same watchdogs to safeguard local producers/ suppliers and employees, thus giving any new owners outright ability to do as they please. So the new and relevant company board(s) of Directors (and nobody can blame them) are heavily disposed towards their respective nationalities and so will look after their own. The PHD is a prime example, because the bad tasting milk on our shelves comes out of product from Nestle in T&T at the expense of local producers/suppliers. So who do you think the nationality of the board of PHD is heavily pre-disposed to? Certainly not Bajans, meanwhile, Trinis laughing all the way to the Bank because we buying their products and the profits going into investors’ pockets in their homeland paid with our foreign exchange. Thanks to our ignorance, the horse has already bolted from the stable and running free. So this begs the question : “Wha we gwine do now?”
    We must become creative, The farmers Co-op, cheese making and butter are great ideas but won’t gain support from certain people like the big time dairy farmer who is only crying wolf, because he sold the majority of “Readi-Block” to the Trinis for a few pieces of silver. We Bajans and those who live here and love this country need to harness our collective, negotiating and creative juices, look to int’l financing supported by gov’t and give these invaders who financially rape our country serious/ stiff competition. Maybe then, they’ll stop thinking we are idiots.

    Like

  6. David January 3, 2013 at 2:00 PM #

    To the farmers reading, James Paul and former Engineer at the PHD slammed the door on Barbados manufacturing cheese especially. Cost of production too high and competing with subsidised imported products.

    Like

  7. islandgal246 January 3, 2013 at 3:39 PM #

    Well that will tell us people to get wunna own goats and cows and mek wunna own. I gine get a cow and two goats.

    Like

  8. Chattel January 3, 2013 at 4:28 PM #

    Islandgal, no need, there will be plenty of surplus milk so I’m sure someone will be willing to sell you at a good price. Oh, wait… we in Barbados, they will probably pour it down the drain rather than sell at cheap price. Best put a deposit on the cow.

    Like

  9. David January 3, 2013 at 5:15 PM #

    Selling the excess milk or giving away does not solve the problem for the dairy farmer.

    Like

  10. Rosemary Parkinson January 4, 2013 at 5:15 AM #

    A discussion on Facebook:

    James Paul: Actually, the article does nothing for the cause of the industry or the farmers so I am yet to see the point of it.
    Wednesday at 2:14pm · Like

    Ian Douglas Bourne: It is saying buy local and cut out PHD – very simple to me & I am way overdue for new glasses!
    Wednesday at 2:57pm · Like

    James Paul: Sorry Ian again you miss the point, attacking the Pine Hill Dairy does the farmers no good, it more benefits Nestle to sell more milk in Barbados which is why the farmers are hurting. Supporting Pine Hill Dairy is supporting Barbadian farmers and jobs. Be a Bajan. When you find another local processor who buys over 12,000 litres of milk per day then we can talk.
    Wednesday at 8:18pm · Like

    Ian Douglas Bourne: When PHD had their UHT and I was the sole supporter, ppl would complain and I’d joke “Buy a Cow,” the response was 2 other buyers are in and where do we keep it? Bajans are willing to go back to old days and do w/o PHD – trust me!
    Wednesday at 8:57pm · Like

    James Paul: Hello Ian the industry would not survive in the old days.
    8 hours ago · Like
    I
    an Douglas Bourne: All I can tell you is PHD better watch itself there are many Bajans who will and are privately investing in a personal cow (three families per livestock) just so they can have their Pasteurised like they used to – Hoad is doing very well these days with his Goat milk these days, so PHD needs to watch out and not alienate their customers and the source of them running
    8 hours ago · Like · 1

    James Paul: I understand what you are saying and that is quite true and PHD will have to respond. However, let us recognise that there are certain realities about milk processing large quantities of milk that we cannot run from and whoever does it has to adhere to them.
    17 minutes ago · Like

    Rosemary Parkinson: Mr. James Paul…as a Culinary Author/Consultant I have been expressing my views and the views of others on whatever media I had available to me. What I said has come true. I would love Pine Hill Dairy to remain open but I also want Pine Hill Dairy to do what is right. Provide decent, healthy milk like in the old days to Barbadians…has anyone looked into the sudden rise in lactose intolerance since this Horrible and I mean HORRIBLE PHD came into existence? Is there no looking into/studying of a product before lashing it out on to the public or are we to be guinea pigs no matter what it does to our health? Pine Hill Dairy had the opportunity with their old time great milk to market ‘milk’ big time….when children stopped reading books the British put out a huge campaign about this – SHOCK YOUR PARENTS, READ A BOOK! and guess what? it worked. Ooops…now why would I put that little bit of info out, I forgot, we are NOT to follow anything Europe does…only America. Sad enough.

    Sometimes harsh pressure gets the job done when obvious figures of loss of business do not. And the only thing that government or anyone should do is to say to Pine Hill “Step up to the plate or sell the business at its pitiful going rate RIGHT NOW to a group of farming businessmen who understand how it is all supposed to work. And produce decent, good, healthy milk and milk by-products for the people of this island.” Is that too much to ask???

    Now…please read Sir what I wrote on BU’s blog (and I will copy this on there too!) Pine Hill Dairy has a choice as far as I am concerned.

    “I am still at a loss to understand why government must intervene in this…what do the dairy farmers want government to do apart from buy the dyamed LOCAL DAIRY? Nothing is going to change unless the owners decide to (a) revert back to fresh milk, leave out the nasty PHD, and start to diversify making other by-products, and making them well. I know they make a type of yoghurt – not sure what to call it although “cornstarch” induced put in above does seem very clear to me. But I did say making them well with expertise brought in to ensure this is done.

    (b) the farmers get a good, decent respectful price for their milk that allows them also to live a decent, respectful life.

    OR (c) which is the option I see as best…farmers form a co-op to make excellent ‘clean’ dairy products (grass grazing cows are a must!) as I have indicated above and no! this is not impossible but would make Barbados the only island in the Caribbean that does this to the highest standards.”

    …..the only intervention required by government would help government’s coffers…i.e. give duty free concessions for the supplies required to make such a venture viable and put a hold on the quantity of imports of milk and its by-products…not saying stop the importation but make a quota to give such a venture a chance.

    Like

  11. Rosemary Parkinson January 4, 2013 at 5:32 AM #

    And further:

    Like

  12. Rosemary Parkinson January 4, 2013 at 5:33 AM #

    Pine Hill Dairy has an opportunity to put its mark on the Caribbean by being the best dairy there is. Not with the products it is producing right now. SIMPLY NOT.

    I would love nothing better than to see the success of this dairy…wrote about it with pride in my first book Culinaria:The Caribbean (published in 7 languages worldwide!) but nothing can be successful by trying to dig out de people’s sensibilities…we want decent products…simple.

    Milk…we have already touched on that over and over again…if the PHD ent selling, get rid of it. Pine Hill had better consumption of milk before, the CEO said so himself…so this is not news nor is it rocket science as to how to rectify that. So they lose on all that foolish equipment they brought in, but whose fault was that??? You cannot just hurl products on to a market…anyone heard of market analysis first? lawd this is like pulling teeth with people who should know bettah. Truly. Instead of all that PHD equipment…better off having brought in equipment to make great cheese…and consultants to make better yoghurt…and and and…even butter! Imagine the saving on our import bill? And to say that locals would not buy those products? If they tasted like the imported ones they are used to…hell yes! they would. I believe that not enough credit is given to the intelligence of the Barbadian.

    Outta all those juices, there are probably 2 that taste good…and most if not all are made from concentrate…Good thinking would have been to use up some government agricultural land to grow say (a) golden apple (b) mango (c) guava (d) gooseberries (e) Bajan Cherry (f) Carambola (these are hardy fruits that do well here)…and use the fruit to make decent real juice like say Tru-Juice in Jamaica. St. Andrew’s Agricultural Station for instance…what is going on there? All that land in bush? I stopped drinking those juices long time now…sugar water causes diabetes and we have been screaming in our health sector about this…but we allow sugar water on the market…does this make sense? Reduce the sugar and use more fruit. Better to pay an extra 50 cents on the product than to make the health bill of this country hit the roof. Again does not take a rocket scientist.

    I HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING AS TO WHY WHY WHY ARE WE NOT ALLOWED AS A PEOPLE TO HAVE THE BEST LOCAL PRODUCT THAT MATCHES THE IMPORTED ONES…IF THE PEOPLE ABROAD CAN DO IT, WHY CAN WE NOT HERE? And this speaks for all Bajan produced products…there is much that needs hauling up but put a pretty label, throw it out there and expect the people to make ya rich…DOES NOT WORK. My opinion only, of course.

    Like

  13. David January 4, 2013 at 6:54 AM #

    @Rosemary

    Based on the exchanges it seems James Paul is saying look the PHD is the processor and if we don’t grow milk production forget it. It seems the dairy farmers are between a rock and a hard place. And with no leadership and vision this is where they will remain.

    Like

  14. David January 4, 2013 at 7:23 AM #

    Another point: Do we have farmers with dissenting views from those of James Paul and the BAS? A new thinking is required, the Trninis and Sir Cow out manoeuvring everybody.

    Like

  15. Rosemary Parkinson January 8, 2013 at 6:26 AM #

    And yet again….the problems just continue…

    http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/sour-dairy-deal/

    Chatting the other day with a small(ish) dairy farmer…farmers have finally come to the conclusion that they need to diversify….problem is that it will take perhaps 3 to 6 months to do so….whatever the decision is…to unite or to go alone on this. During this time they could lose their farm based on how they built same up according to instructions from Pine Hill Dairy….hmmm. So basically the one month reprieve is nothing. Well many of us knew that.

    I also understand that CEO Cozier has been out and about seeking information from dairy farmers…now really….please do not make me say something about this unbelievable state of affairs….

    Perhaps it is time for Barbados to realize that we have so very many non-qualified people in jobs they do not seem to be properly educated for or care to be educated for. When I am offered a job that I have no idea about, the first thing I do is study study study all aspects of same…and I keep on studying as times change so rapidly. I keep in touch with those I am in charge of to ensure that we work in unison and if it is a product(s) I am selling, I keep abreast of what is required by the public from my product(s). Does not take a bloody rocket scientist to know this. Actually I have always known this to be normal procedure…

    Lawd help me to understand silliness….

    We need some serious boycotting on this island…it is the only way to make people stop and think.

    Buy fresh milk direct from the nearest dairy farmer…perhaps if Pine Hill Dairy is squeezed real hard there will be two ways out for them….stand up and fly right with the dairy industry and that means getting rid of UHT, PHD or whatever so-called ‘fresh milk’ it is that we hate and start selling only the good old-time milk, the same one that had people drinking milk diversifying by getting in REAL knowledgeable consultants on how to produce yes…great quality milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt and any other by-products of same.
    OR
    sell off the dairy at a good price (’cause all one would need is some of the equipment) to those who can run it successfully in conjunction with the farmers and perhaps one good dairy farmer from say Cornwall, England – great old-time retired one who would love nothing better than a stint in beautiful Barbados and whose expertise can turn the dairy into one of the best in the Caribbean providing all of the above.

    Lawd I do like to dream eh?

    Meanwhile our dairy industry is in as much trouble as our health. Go figure.

    Like

  16. David January 12, 2013 at 4:23 PM #

    Is this the last of the BS&T old guard kicked to the curb?

    http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/bhl-shake-up/

    Like

  17. Hants January 12, 2013 at 4:26 PM #

    has been replaced by Neal & Massy’s top executive here, Anthony King.

    Is King a Trinidadian?

    Like

  18. St George's Dragon January 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM #

    An interesting view from elsewhere:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-moo-man-review-2013-1

    Like

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