Barbados is one large farm
By – ALISTER ALEXANDER, President, Barbados Association Of Retailers, Vendors And Entrepreneurs | Mon, July 09, 2012 - 11:59 PM()
An adversarial policy approach that serves to further fragment the participation and organization of key stakeholders within the agricultural sector is what will cause the injection of $20 million to be ineffective.
How many white papers and injections of monies from Budgetary Proposals later is the agricultural industry still underdeveloped? The rhetorical answer provides us with an opportunity to look away from political PR props and in the direction of real industry solutions.
Agricultural development will only take place if stakeholders working together are able to take collective ownership of the industry.
Only a comprehensive plan that looks at small Barbados as one large farm will be ever capable of eliminating local gluts and shortages and positioning us for international export.
It is stated in the Barbados Association Of Retailers, Vendors And Entrepreneurs (BARVEN) Development Plan (a copy of which is in the Government’s possession) that “as the capacity of distribution determines the capacity of production, vending as one of agriculture’s chief marketing arms is indispensable”.
If this statement is true, and it is, then the appropriate Government resources should be used in incentivizing such subgroupings to organize and develop their distributive role and to make synergies with the productive end.
Every week the BARVEN Farmer’s Market is involved in the marketing of thousands of pounds of local agricultural produce to a grateful Barbados, yet no present minister of Government has shown it any interest.
This is despite the fact we have met with more than one minister and have presented many a documented proposal for ourselves and the industry.
BARVEN is hoping that as the present Minister of Agriculture rolls out his plans for this fiscal period, his ministry will begin to show measurable respect for initiatives organized by farmers and vendors, and that such farmer-run markets as its own will be considered.
Sustainable initiatives that promote a cooperative and not a competitive spirit among industry players and Government will guarantee that hitherto illusive progress.
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