Message from Woodville Alleyne-Jones, President of the Barbados Agricultural Society, to mark Agrofest 2019.
ABOVE, excited students looking on as a schoolmate tests the THE Board of Directors of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) take great pleasure in presenting Agrofest annually to the public for a number of reasons.
The most important is that it provides the opportunity to take centre stage in the economic landscape. Farmers undergo great stress and are in need of the support of the wider society in ensuring their livelihood. This support can come through various ways, and as President, I would like to thank those persons in the community who constantly provide us with the necessary resources to facilitate the farm operations.
Farm operations are not always smooth as the farmer faces uncertainties of the weather and disease threats, along with natural disasters, hence uncertainty is a normal feature. The Board of Directors of the BAS wants to emphasise that Agrofest seeks to applaud farmers and their efforts, despite the risks.
The Board has had to seek support from all stakeholders including suppliers of inputs and retailers. Our platinum sponsor, Pinnacle Feeds, has been with us from the beginning and we would really like to express our appreciation to the management of Pinnacle Feeds for their unwavering support.
The partnership has been one that has shown what cooperation between entities with mutual interests can do and we look forward to the continuing support. Another sponsor of note is the Ministry of Agriculture that continues to provide funding towards the successful execution of the event even during trying economic times. The fact that they continue to present very educational and interesting exhibits in their booth is very important as it emphasises the work that the Ministry does within the sector.
The Board frequently encourages its commodity groups to do more and adopt strategies that seek to enhance their capabilities. One of our more vibrant groups is the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers’ Association, which has been very strident in defending the interests of the members.
They have been making financial contributions every year to the event and the Board wishes to express thanks for their generosity. We therefore encourage other commodity groups to contribute in the same way and would also want to mention the contributions which have been made by the Barbados Dairy and Beef Producers Association to the prizes that are paid out to the farmers who compete in the various competitions.
The Board sees huge benefits in these competitions, including the fact that it sharpens the livestock management skills of the farmers. It is a fact that some farmers are now developing a name for themselves as they participate in the competitions and have been able to command good prices for livestock sold from their farms.
Correct animal breeding contributes to the improvement of livestock breeds and Agrofest has contributed greatly to the adoption of good practices. This will result in great benefits for the farmers and it is hoped that this will make the individual farm enterprises more viable. The board also treats the vegetable competitions with great importance as it assists in rewarding those farmers who show great commitment to maintaining vegetable production. Finally, we thank all stakeholders in ensuring a successful Agrofest 2019.
weight of a pumpkin at last year’s Agrofest. (FP)