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Jones: Push local food production


rhondathompson, [email protected]

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Acting Prime Minister Ronald Jones says agricultural production is rising, but farmers have to do a lot more to satisfy local food demand.He made this assessment in the House of Assembly yesterday.According to Jones, production of crops such as onions, pumpkins, cabbage, melons and eddoes is still lagging behind consumption.On the other hand, farmers are meeting between 70 and 100 per cent of the demand for cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, beans, poultry, and fresh pork, he said.Jones told parliamentarians that non-sugar agriculture had its share of problems, including persistent crop and livestock theft, disillusionment among farmers, Barbadians’ focusing more on services, consumption of low-nutrition snacks and young people’s ignorance of and distance from farming.“There are some young people who believe that agricultural production begins in the supermarket or in the shops of this country  . . . rather than in the fields and in the greenhouses,” he complained.Jones said that some youths even had difficulties in identifying vegetables.“I think that this is where adults have in fact betrayed the young people of Barbados,” he remarked. He complained that while local farming could produce wholesome snacks and breakfasts, Barbadians went for imported cereals and corn-curls.Jones made the comments while piloting the Income Tax Amendment (No. 2) Bill, 2010 through the House. The amendment is to provide for a rebate to be given to farmers who import agro-processing machinery.The rebate was announced by Government in 1999 and was to come into effect in April of that year, but the enabling law was never passed.Jones said he wanted to see a number of bills aimed at helping the agricultural sector reach Parliament with some “alacrity”.He referred to the Agricultural Protection Bill, the Praedial Larceny Amendment Bill and the Sustainable Agriculture Development Bill.“These pieces of legislation were before the various authorities for some time, previous to 2008, and now up to this current period of time,” he said.“This is not a condemnation of anyone,” he added. “There have been challenges but now we have to work past these challenges and we have to bring those instruments which are important to agriculture in Barbados – not merely talking about them, but in fact delivering them to the people of Barbados.” (TY)

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