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10-year plan to secure food, jobs

Ricky Jordan

10-year plan to secure food, jobs

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WITH A FOOD import bill hovering around $600 million annually, Barbados needs to stop importing items like sugar, broccoli, lettuce and lamb if it is to survive the devastation expected from the world food crisis.
This is the view of former director general of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture, Dr Chelston Brathwaite who, in a White Paper report commissioned by Government, has drafted a new ten-year food and nutrition plan that could generate over 4 000 jobs and save $100 million in foreign exchange.
The plan, based on a partnership between farmers, the Government, private sector, University of the West Indies (UWI) and other academic institutions, will be launched next Monday at Dukes Plantation in St Thomas, where a UWI Cave Hill centre for food security and entrepreneurship will begin operations to initially train local farmers in modern technical expertise.
According to Brathwaite, this should be a stepping stone to the establishment of a Government ministry of food and nutrition security.
Noting that Barbados, with a population of 280 000, imported three times more food per capita than Jamaica with its 2.8 million population, Brathwaite told journalists at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Press conference Tuesday that this country was importing highly consumed items it could easily grow.