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Lip service to agriculture


HORACE GREEN

Lip service to agriculture

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James Paul, chief executive officer of the Barbados Association Society, has been recently lamenting the fact that foreign produce is being imported into Barbados. If his complaining could put a stop to the matter, it would have been halted long ago because he has been at it for a very long time now.

So, do the farmers on whose behalf he complains believe that the importation of agricultural produce, which is supposed to be undermining their efforts, will cease? Who is going to stop it?

However, every sovereign country is looking for foreign exchange and every president or ruler cannot run to every land to sell his country’s wares. They have their loyal nationals anchored on foreign shores to do that. In this case those farmers are helping themselves and their country.

The foreign-owned hotels and eating houses are here to facilitate those countries’ efforts. The tourists are here to help by consuming their countries’ produce and we locals help them too.

Man, if it were legal, they would import their own weed as well. So I do not know what Mr Paul and the farmers are going to do.

Now let us take this point into account. Between the 1950s and the 1970s virtually every house in Barbados sent some people to the United Kingdom [to work].

If there was a home from which no one left for England, then the house to the left sent three, the one on the right sent four and the one on the opposite side of the road sent five. And that is no exaggeration. I am confident that we had as many Barbadians in the UK as were left in Barbados. They reproduced and continue to do so.

The towns and cities in the UK sell many things not produced there. Did the UK government prevent Barbados sending produce and so on to service Barbadians and anyone else there? Where was the sustained effort made to supply on a lasting basis some of the needs of our people there, thereby boosting our foreign earnings?

However, please tell, what is being done, apart from long talk, to help the farming industry at home? Do you recall not so long ago the average minister seemingly had no interest whatever in agriculture?

And all of a sudden, as if they are short of work, nearly all of them are shouting: we have found agriculture, at last! They are even trying, it seems, to railroad all the children into agriculture – “the stone rejected”.

However, they are setting up the schoolchildren for a great fall and failure. Do the wise men and women know for sure to where the produce will be exported? Will the young and enthusiastic farmers’ produce be used to make compost? Without markets, gluts and gluts would surely follow.

Some years ago I saw what appeared to be tons of onions on a plantation hedge row decomposing and to this day no one seems able to produce or procure equipment to preserve onions. And so very much goes to waste.

In other places they blend beans, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and so on. They can the combined product, consume some locally and export the balance. And we in Barbados lift up those items – fruits and vegetables in various forms, pay the supermarket, take them home and devour them with relish.

Ask Mr Paul and the rest of our rulers if I lie.

They are sent to us “whole and fresh”, in juices and dried and in any other form. But alas our mangoes, golden apples, soursop fall to the ground and rot every year.

It seems as if we do not know what to do with our cherry, that precious fruit and medicine. Foursquare and Mount Gay should get all they need from “home” to steep in brandy – Cherry Brandy.

We should have very many acres of land producing our many fruits,and packaging them appropriately and sending them out allowing our people over yonder and others to read about taste and see more of Barbados.

What advertising! What promotion!

The Black Belly sheep or lamb, so  unique to Barbados. It should have  been a big industry long ago. And there is much else.

Now let the question be asked:  do we need a massive United States dollar loan to implement the above?

No.

HORACE GREEN 

 

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