“Agriculture can save Barbados”

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If Barbados is to emerge as a stronger nation from under its heavy debt burden and foreign exchange shortage, it needs to turn to agriculture in a serious way. It needs to develop an agriculture-based economy, instead of being dependent on countries such as the United States and Great Britain for handouts.

Barbados, with its fertile land and educational institutions, needs to develop agricultural industries that will exploit the limited resources the island has because of size.

The fertile land that exists in Barbados can be fully utilised to grow products such as cassava, mangoes, sweet potatoes, yams, eddoes, breadfruit, coconuts, bananas, plantain and vegetables for the export markets of the United States, Canada and Great Britain where there is a large demand for such products, especially in the winter season when they  import products from tropical countries.

The Government of Barbados needs to spearhead such efforts, and lead by example, in order for the private sector to follow.

The food import bill needs to be reduced substantially, and Barbadians need to grow and eat more local products, rather than depend on imported stuff that is less nutritional in value than what is grown locally. The local population needs to be re-educated to appreciate what is grown locally, and should be encouraged to plant more food, rather than flowers.

Agriculture appears to be the only saving grace that Barbados has to prevent it from knocking on the doors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), since it is such a small country with limited resources.

Hopefully, the Government and people of Barbados will wake up before it is too late; or else they will find themselves at the mercy of the IMF, which can be a very unforgiving institution in times of need, especially for small countries with limited resources, and not much clout.

 

– ASHLEY L. McCLEAN