DLP Seeks IDB Help In Shaking Up Ministry Of Agriculture

Coming on the heels of a previous digital article where it was stated the Minister of Agriculture Haynesley Benn “is operating in an environment in which people had a particular way of carrying out operations, and are not perpared to change”

thereby frustrating any projects (eg the cassava project) that can help put a dent in our escalating food import bill, ($600m+) Barbadians now are told of efforts by the Government, in seeking the help of the Inter-America Development Bank after the same bank identified “weak institutional development” and “recommended not only a revision and  a update of the island mid-term agricultural strategy (why mid-term and not long-term or mid-term and long-term???) but an operational and organisational remake,” in its Institutional Capacity Assessment report.

“….challenges it faced were significant and made worse over the years because “of ad-hoc solutions, patching new tasks and functionalities onto the existing organisational framework.”

Solution?

“To be able to respond to news international, regional and national challenges and opportunities facing the agricultural sector and to identify, stimulate and support innovative technologies and production systems and agricultural opportunities that are appropriate to Barbados, the Ministry of Agriculture must adopt a BOLD FRESH APPROACH (my emphasis) that is client based, results oriented ad founded on the principle of service delivery while achieving a more efficient allocation of its budget, currently above $60 million per year.”

Let’s face it. Some of these technocrats sitting behind a desk pushing paper (are they?) all day, don’t have a clue of what is going on in the outside world. For instance the word agriculture is hardly use anymore. Now that maybe a moot point to some but if images of people toiling all day in the broiling sun comes to mind when one hear the word ‘agriculture’ as oppose to using  traditional and modern farming methods, implemented to enhance the overall agricultural experience when one thought process heard the word ‘agribusiness‘ then you understand where I am coming from. For if these obstinate obtuse obstacles lack vision, how de france agriculture in this country can ever be sustainable and practical when farmers are already facing brick walls, some before they even start?

If the Ministry do not lead the charge forward, the only crops grown would be restricted to backyard plots alone. While necessary, small holdings never could support an economy. Zimbabwe is a perfect example. Haiti is another.

A country like Barbados with very few resources needs to develop its agricultural base for local consumption and exports. A country that can’t feed its self is like a ship in stormy seas with no safe harbour in sight. Recent disasters (natural or man-made is beside the point) affecting food supplies globally = food shortage and increase prices. Flooding in our neck of the woods across one of our main farming belts haven’t help matters either. Neither is plantation arable land transforming into concrete for two months residents!

At the lower end of the scale we have self-serving interests pushing their own agendas.

“……there are well-qualified people in the Ministry of Agriculture who are bend on doing nothing,……” (Barbados consul general in Toronto Dr.Leroy McClean).

At the upper end of the scale, we have merchants laughing all the way to the bank not only because of Bajans huge appetite for foreign goods but particularly long-term local produce grown on large acres of land are being hampered every day by interests who have no wish to see Barbados in a position to feed itself and become independent food wise.

Caught in the middle of course are right thinking Bajans who are fed up with inflating food prices decided by a round table of ‘competitive’ peers.

Let’s see how asking the IDB help in revamping the Ministry of Agriculture will pan out. Shall we?

The Barbados Ministry of Agriculture new website: www.agriculture.gov.bb

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