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Areas of concern

Marlon Madden

Areas of concern

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It is estimated that manufacturing output continued to be depressed in the first three months of 2012.
This is according to the latest Central Bank of Barbados review of the economy for the first quarter of the year.
The report also noted that non-sugar agriculture is projected to have contracted by 4.1 per cent while sugar production is expected to decline by approximately 7.5 per cent for this year.
Last week Denis Kellman, Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, and members of the Barbados Manufacturing Association toured two of the island’s main manufacturing companies in St Lucy – Millworks Inc. and Meridian Caribbean Windows Inc., – and one of the largest farms, The Farm, Nature’s Produce.
Following the tour, Kellman expressed satisfaction with the levels of production among the companies visited and called on the entire island to support local producers, manufacturers and processors.
“We had a very successful tour . . . . and we saw the amount of foreign exchange they are saving and earning for the country,” he said.
Among other things, the tour was designed to gather information from those manufacturers and producers regarding some of the challenges they faced.
It was also aimed at reaffirming Government’s commitment to the continuous development and interest in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors. At the end of the tour, an Eat Local video was launched.
This was Kellman’s second tour so far this year. He said he would be touring a variety of businesses throughout the year.
Kellman urged Barbadians to get back to farming. Pointing to Government’s high import bill, Kellman urged Barbadians to support local farmers.
“If we do not go back to agriculture, this country will suffer because any country that cannot feed itself is a country doomed to be beggars,” said Kellman. He did not believe the country was in “crisis” but was currently experiencing “some challenges”.
Ziad Kazan, general manager of Meridian Caribbean Windows Inc., said he was pleased that the Government minister and his team toured his business. He said such events not only help companies keep on top of their game, but also allowed them to understand industry needs.
“I think it is important to keep in touch with what is happening in the industry. It is important that people see and know what is going on behind the scenes,” he said.
Barbados Agriculture Society president James Paul commended Kellman for his hands-on approach and interest in the two sectors. He called on other Government ministers to follow suit.