From left to right: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Nutritional Security, Terry Bascombe; Barbados’ Minister of Agriculture and Food and Nutritional Security, Indar Weir; Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, in discussion during their site visit to Lears, St. Michael on Saturday. (T. Barker/BGIS)
Author: Fabian Belgrave
The site at Lears, St. Michael, which is earmarked for the construction of a food terminal in Barbados, has been deemed appropriate and has met all of the criteria required for such a facility.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley; Minister of Agriculture and Food and Nutritional Security, Indar Weir; Ministry officials and a delegation from Guyana visited the site on Saturday to determine its viability for crop production, and water storage, and all agreed that it was the ideal location.
The seven acres of land at Lears, St. Michael, will have a purpose-built facility to accommodate about 40 containers at any time; a reservoir holding 20 million gallons of water, and land for crop production.
Minister Weir, speaking about the food terminal, stated: “We are going to have a Guyana-Barbados food terminal where Barbados would act as a hub; using a hub-and-spoke arrangement for us then to transship agricultural produce between Barbados and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, and even beyond CARICOM, exporting into North America.”
He went on to explain that Barbados must be able to produce not just food but the right type of food. “We must have food sovereignty, that is, know what we are growing; how it is being grown; the quantities that we need, and consistency of supply,” he noted.
The food terminal is a direct result of the Guyana-Barbados St. Barnabas Accord, which was signed by President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
The main agenda is to replace 25% of food imports throughout the region by 2025. Ms. Mottley set this target in 2018 when the regional ministers for agriculture met in Barbados.
Prime Minister Mottley disclosed that working with President Ali and his team on this project was very important and thanked President Ali, who has lead responsibility for agriculture in CARICOM.
She said he had worked hard over the last 12 months to “bring us to this point where we have a plan for substitution, and for regional production, but at the same time, on a parallel track, working with us in Barbados to deepen our bilateral cooperation in agriculture”.
“We’re looking at joint cooperation on the Black Belly sheep…. They’ve donated 25 shade houses and we’re purchasing another 25 through the Youth Enterprise Cultural initiative. We’re talking also about the possibility of shrimp farming being introduced into Barbados, and these are not long term, horizon things; these are things that will happen this year … so I’m really excited about it all at the national level,” she stated.
Other projects include fish farming, fruits and vegetable importation, and the planting of 50,000 fruit trees in Barbados. The Guyanese delegation comprised: Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Chief Executive Officer, Go-Invest, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Sharon Roopchand-Edwards; Director General, Ministry of Agriculture, Madanlall Ramraj; Advisor, CARICOM Agri-Food Systems, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Richard Blair; Chairman, Ministry of Agriculture, Lionel Wordsworth, and Agriculture Business Development Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Asraf Narine.