Demand for organic food
There is growing demand for organic food on the island, according to two players in the industry.
Cathie Maas, co-owner of the Maas group of companies, told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that she realized more people were gravitating to organic food, and while the number of organic farmers was on the rise, they were increasingly diversifying their offerings.
“Organic food is becoming more, and I suppose the more we ask and the more we push, the more it will become,” she said.
The Maas group of companies consist of the Maas Clinic and the Maas Café. The clinic offers osteopathic and functional diagnostic medicine while the café sells wheat, gluten and sugar-free gourmet meals.
“What we are noticing is that people are becoming more aware of the value of the food content going into their bodies, which equals the performance of the body on a daily basis,” she said.
“Pesticides, herbicides – these things are causing great problems in people’s diet, so the awareness of the market is making people want to buy clean food.
“We say in our café that it is either you pay the farmer or you pay the hospital, and that is the reality,” added Maas.
She said people were even becoming “more frustrated” in general with taking [prescribed] medications and were turning to other forms of natural treatments.
The Future Centre Trust’s Green Business Barbados programme coordinator, Lani Edghill, said as the demand for organic food was increasing, the supply was also increasing.
“There are all these little farmers’ markets that are popping up because the demand for organic produce is increasing. People are becoming more health-conscious.
“They are realizing that it is important to grow and eat organic because the other option is vegetables and fruit and so on that have been sprayed with pesticides; whether it is fertilizing or keeping away insects,” she said.
Edghill said there were a number of benefits to producing and eating more local organically grown food.
“The implication for the island is massive because we now reduce our import cost on things like agricultural additives – and we are providing food for our own country, which is food security, and a product that is natural for the people to become healthier,” said Edghill.
She said despite the noticeable increase, however, the lack of knowledge among the population about the importance of eating organic remained a challenge. (MM)