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Eye on agriculture

Eric Smith

Eye on agriculture

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Agriculture enjoys a privileged position in relation to all other sectors in the local economy.
This has been stated by Leader of the Opposition, Owen Arthur, who made the point while speaking earlier today on Agriculture during debate of the 2011-12 Estimates in the House of Assembly.
Arthur said agriculture was not in a situation in which it finds itself for lack of attention but because of the challenges which the sector faces.
“The agricultural sector is the only sector that is a duty free zone, it does not pay taxes on its inputs and it does not pay taxes on its output and it is the sector that has received more financial support from successive governments of Barbados than any other sector in the economy….”
The former Prime Minister noted that any development strategy for agriculture must recognise that commercial agriculture must be heavily subsidized, pointing out that this was also true of the sector in the developed countries. However, he warned that Barbados simply have the type of funds to subsidize the sector as what obtains in the developedcountries.
He pointed out that since 1998 when the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) started to be implemented in Barbados local agriculture and manufacturing have had variouschallenges and there has been much transformation of the sectors.