Paul: Look at global effects on productionJAMES PAUL (FP)
Wed, November 07, 2012 - 12:01 AM
BARBADIANS SHOULD PAY MORE ATTENTION to international weather conditions and their impact on crop yields.
Too often, said James Paul, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), the impact of phenomena like the recent drought in the United States or extended rainfall in some parts of Europe were not fully understood locally.
“We don’t quite understand that Europe has a consuming population – they consume a lot of their crops,” he said last Wednesday during a seminar on climate change and food security hosted by the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association, Barbados Agricultural Society, Cave Hill School of Business (CHSB), and Barbados Private Sector Trade Team.
Paul noted that in 2010, Barbados imported 100 per cent of its soybeans from the United States along with 86 per cent of its animal feed, 100 per cent of its wheat and meslin (a rye-wheat mix), and 99 per cent of its maize.
“We’re still trying to question why these food prices have to go up . . . .
“The fact of the matter is that the United States is producing less. Yields per acre in some cases are down because of the fact that [they] have harsher conditions, so we’re lucky that we’re getting what we’re getting at the moment,” he said during the event at CHSB.
“The other thing we don’t seem to appreciate and understand is that the world is only producing a certain amount of food . . . .
“We’ve talked about the whole question of the green revolution and that . . . as the world population increased, there were technological changes that helped us to increase yields.
“The fact of the matter is the scientists are telling you that within the last ten, 20 years there has not been any major green revolution,” he said.
Paul noted that climate change had begun to affect local crop production.
“All of a sudden we’re noticing some very slight differences in our temperatures. Our soil temperatures are changing in some cases.
“All of this is having an impact on plants that would normally grow at certain periods. They don’t grow at the same periods or in the way that we would expect,” he said.
The CEO also noted that the window of opportunity for growing crops was getting smaller in some cases, requiring Barbadian producers to find varieties that can adapt to climate change. (NB)
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