Can Our Sugar Industry Be Saved?

Thanks to a few readers who sent links to an excellent story in last week’s Guardian…

Sun, Sea and … Sugar

Tourists head to Barbados for the beaches and lush landscape, but without sugar cane the island would turn to scorched scrub. Now, with the EU about to slash prices in the name of free trade, local growers are fighting back. Joanna Blythman reports

With a platinum-plated visitor list like this, you might think that everything was hunky dory in Barbados. But there is trouble brewing in paradise. Barbados’s tourist scene, the island’s top source of income, is predicated not only on sea and surf, but also on sugar – its second-biggest source of revenue. Tourists love Barbados for its lushness, a verdant landscape carpeted with rolling green hills of sugar cane – an erect, elegant grass with bamboo-like stems that stands as high as 12ft at maturity, swaying and rustling in the breeze of the trade winds.

… continue reading this story at The Guardian (link here)

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46 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

46 responses to “Can Our Sugar Industry Be Saved?

  1. Alternatives? no thanks.

    Maybe we should be growing hemp instead.
    I said HEMP, not…

    Hemp. for very durable clothing
    for canvas(the only natural fibre resistant to salt water, as in SAILS for boats)
    Hemp-seed is something like 70% oil. That oil can be made into combustible fuel for engines, pretty close to diesel.
    2 crops a year? grows like a weed? what’s the problem?
    The problem is Amerika’s MJ Tax Act of 1937 that somehow also applies to our allegedly-independent country.
    What a laugh, huh?

  2. Anonymous

    Saw custom sugar in Big B Supermarket.
    Brown crystal lah-de-dah sugar
    – at lah-de-dah prices.
    Checked the packaging for a Made in: label.

    MAURITIUS.
    What a laugh, huh?

  3. Peltdown Man

    Plantation Reserve is a great idea, but I wonder if sales will require sufficient volume to save the industry. If it were used in conjunction with the production of ethanol, then the beloved Barbadian landscape could be preserved, which will also help the tourism industry, as the Guardian article explained. It was good that such an article was written in a foreign paper, because perhaps it will awaken decision-makers as to how potential visitors to the island feel about the landscape. I really don’t believe that most Bajans understand the relationship between the appearance of the island and tourism. That is why a water park is such a bad idea. The value of sugar will rise in coming years, as the demand for bio-fuels increases. It is much cheaper to produce ethanol from sugar than from corn, and corn will remain a major food staple. The more ethanol produced form sugar, the less demand on corn for the same purpose, thereby helping to keep down the cost of food. It really is a no-brainer – and this should interest the politicians – there is a lot of money to be made from it. For the country, of course!

  4. james

    I thought there was a new sugar factory on the cards to replace the current two, to include an ethanol plant. Didn’t the EU just give Barbados a grant to help build it ? On Plantation Reserve, excellent idea and a good, if long, article. I saw it in a Waitrose supermarket in the UK and wondered what it was all about. At least somebody’s doing something positive – I’ve heard people talk about ‘branding’ sugar for 20 years.
    Good luck to ‘em.

  5. Caribbean Comment

    A very good article, and good promotion for Planation Reserve. It’s useful to see that the standard sugar cane crop can be used to produce a superior quality product, which appears to gain more revenue (though I am not sure how much more profit) and be a broader advertisement for Barbados. It’s not clear how big the market can be for “gourmet” sugars, but exploit it while you can. What would be useful is if the “experts” out there could help in the debate about what kind of transitions are possible. St. Kitts has abandoned sugar and that island will transform physically as land is put to other uses, including property development. Can Barbados continue to grow sugar cane and use some for sugar production, and some to produce fuels such as ethanol? The debate should not be about the sky falling, but how to manage certain inevitable changes.

  6. Dietician.

    Sugar, as it turns out, is dietary YUK.
    It’s time is past. We need to break the addiction.

    Addiction? yes..the addiction that all children are encouraged to acquire from age 1-3,
    when sweets are dished out in great abundance,
    thus guaranteeing customers for life.
    (At least the Tobacco Industry waits decently, until we’re early teens, before hooking us on their product, but the Sugar Industry wants us EARLY).

    Sugar: the only food substance with major calories, yet zero ..zero nutritional value!
    Good stuff,huh?
    Dear God, morally we’d be better off growing drugs!(I’m kidding of course but you get the point…maybe you don’t ..what do I know)

  7. I am fully committed to saving agriculture in Barbados, and agree making up-market Platation Reserve may help us lose less on our sugar.

    However I think ethanol production is a desperate lunatic move to support the dying sugar industry.

    If you look at the facts of ethanol as a fuel you will see there are many shortcomings. (See “The Hidden Agenda behind Bush Administration’s BioFuel Plan- http://globalresearch.ca/index) . It has as many pollutants, is highly corrosive, has 30% less energy, is not cost effective compared to other fuels e.g. natural gas.

    As the cost of corn and all feed grains continues to skyrocket as its is diverted into ethanol production in the USA, Brazil etc., Barbados would be far better advised to GROW CORN INSTEAD of sugar cane. That would be the best way of keeping down food prices, particularly chicken and pork.

  8. P.S. Sorry-The full address of the Global Research article is:
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6407

  9. LongTimeDreamer.

    Save agriculture in Barbados?
    A land with marginal rainfall(have you seen this year’s figures?)?
    – and soils so poor only a glorified grass will grow here?
    Not to mention Sta. Sargeants who help you reap your crops, at nights?(praedial larceny)?

    I can’t think of any place less rewarding re. one’s agricultural effots(ok, maybe the Sahara) than Barbados! It simply doesn’t pay!
    (bring in the Chinese? ohGod let’s not even consider that, we have enough of them,already)

    At least Trini have good soils, nuff rainfall,
    and Indians who will put a hand in de soil,
    but on Barbados, we have everything going against us, re. agriculture.

    Give it a rest!
    Sugar died 25 years ago: it’s lifeless body is kept alive artificially by heart machines, iron-lung breathing machines, kidney dialysis, etc.

    Let it DIE, for the love of God.
    Bury it. It has bed-sores, and is smelly!
    You have to pull the plug sooner or later, despite all the emotional stuff and despite how we all hate a funeral.

  10. jamaicangirl2007

    I am one of those people who is pessimistic about the future of sugar in the Caribbean. We are simply not competitive…we never were and never will be.

  11. sugar

    I recently had a cup of coffee in a popular place and the packets of brown sugar were clearly marked from Demerara.

  12. Hants

    Longtimedreamer, Agriculture in Barbados is viable and must viewed as a “Security” issue.

    Importing all your food is dangerous.

    If there was a serious recession you would see how quickly the landscape would change.

    Todays Golf courses could be tomorrows Farms.

  13. Anonymous

    Help me to understand…1 kg of yellow crystal sugar retails at Super Centre for $1.52 while a half of a kg of Plantation Reserve sugar retails at the same Super Centre for $17.44 (as of yesterday)! How is this a great idea?

  14. james

    The way I see it, comparing regular sugar to Plantation Reserve is a bit like comparing ESAF to Extra Old or VSOR. According to the article, it’s more expensive to produce and the industry makes money on every kg against a loss for everything else. I don’t supose anyone would use it in large quantities – it’s too expensive – but the tin looks excellent and I’ve given it to a few friends overseas as a gift who love the stuff. Classy advert for Barbados if nothing else.

  15. Anonymous

    On these apparently superior products…I recall a relative who use to refill a Johnny Walker labeled bottle with a very much cheaper brand of whiskey and on serving to his unknowing friends would be complimented on his good taste in whisky (the supposed Johnny Walker)!

  16. Thistle

    Jamaicagirl2007:

    You are so right – not only about sugar, but about everything. By the way, I see lots of British-born Jamaicans (grandchildren of the Empire Windrush folk) are heading back home in the hundreds. Will that be a good thing for Jamaica? I think it will. The U.K. is a dump and a scary place now anyhow – thanks to the Muslim radicals.

  17. Anon...

    Sugar… yes Cafe Blue at our very own GAIA passes out Demerara sugar imported from the United States with your ice coffee. This drives me crazy!!!

    What about alternative uses for cane: biodiesel, construction products, etc.?

  18. Hants

    Terrible tragedy in Barbados today. 6 dead, 23 seriously hurt in Bus crash at Joes river this morning.

    Sympathy to all involved.

  19. Hants

    BFP you should jump in with public service announcement. Blood is needed at the QEH.

    They will need to replentish the Blood Bank..

  20. LongTimeDreamer.

    Hants,boy..
    I agree entirely with you re. the food security issue,
    but dah wud mean a lotta hard work
    and sweatin in de hot sun en ting,
    and we ex-slaves DONE puttin we hand in de nasty grung!
    Food mek fuh BUY, not fuh PLANT!

    How dah gyne wuk? – only in desperation,
    but as you done know.. dah cyan’ happen here
    dis be Buhbayduss, muh boh!

  21. J. Payne

    (Quote)

    “Now, with the EU about to slash prices in the name of free trade, local growers are fighting back.”

    (end Quote)

    That’s a little bit biased. The EU doesn’t have to take care of anybody. When Barbados opted for independence that was a move which was ment to say the country is ready to join the rank of nations and stand on it’s own two fee. If Barbados wants EU subsidies it’s up to the island to reverse their declaration of independence in all honesty and revert back…

    The The Cayman Islands, Anguilla, and the Turks and Caicos has all done this. Whereby they’ve agreed that their circumstance should be the full responsibility of the E.U. We should be happy the EU gave us the 40+ years of subsidies they did because they didn’t have to…

  22. LookahShiteNow,yuh!

    If Barbados wants EU subsidies
    it’s up to the island to reverse their declaration of independence in all honesty and revert back…

    LONGtime now I bin saying dat did “independence ting AIN’T WUKKIN
    but dat hurts the oversize National Ego!

    Look how Cable & Wireless turned into BARTEL which turned right back into…Cable & Wireless.

    I ask you..in all logic..
    Can a rock 21 x 14 with ZIP oil(even offshore)
    be ever independent?
    Of course not!

    There is only one independent island-country in this ex-UK Caribbean,
    and that island is TRINIDAD(God how it hurts Baje to admit that).
    All others (Jamaica included) are “spinning top in MUD” as Trini would say.

    HOW LONG until we fess up to the reality that we are not independent?
    How long until we beg back?
    Do we wait on violent revolution?
    Or destitution? or devaluation?
    – or USDollarisation for the whole CARICOM region?

    What will be the factor to make us rush back to Mother England (or Mother ANYone…maybe Mother Trinidad,evennn!) and beg back, to touch the hem of Her garment,lovingly
    and beg fuh a plate of food,
    rather than dis ketchass ting we pretending along wid..?

  23. J. Payne

    Re: greengage

    I think you’re right. If Barbados wants to tap the ethanol market (as an export industry) Barbados would have to look at where— they will be selling their ethanol fuel. Brazil’s whole thing is they want energy independence. So don’t even look to be selling them sugar cane ethanol at a profit because their farmers will be trying their best to get you out of their market they’ve staked out Brazil and it’s market of 180 million people for themselves. In terms of the US market, the massive corn growers lobby is pushing the US to use corn based ethanol. Which means the engines made by GM, Chrysler, etc. will be created specifically for corn based ethanol fuel injection. The only way Barbados could secure itself a nitche is if they put money in R&D and patented the technology on corn based engines. Then they could retrofit all models to take either corn based ethanol or sugar cane based. I’m sure both probably use/have different fuel/air mixture ratios.

    I think ethenol will be overrated. It’s not really going to be sold cheaper than Petrol. Fuel Cell technology is where the real savings will be.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cells

  24. Straight talk

    As I understand, no retrofitting necessary for diesel.

    Petrol? easy do what the Govt has done to the second hand market, tax the SOBs out of existence.

    No Problem.

  25. Maat

    The Food and Agriculture hosts a chat forum that recently featured an article that points out that the increased push towards agricultural fuel alternatives like ethanol from corn and cane will drive the price of food up drastically as less land will be cultivated in food crops. Barbados’ Ministry of Agriculture needs to rethink this whole ethanol thing and not base their hopes on countries like Brazil which has massive land space and lower costs. We are a tiny island with a huge food import bill. Does it make sense to save a small amount in fuel costs while we vastly increase our food import bill?
    This notion that tourists love to see sugar cane fields is strange. What is it that draws them back to places like Spain, Bermuda, Hawaii etc?

    Peace

  26. Maat

    Apologies; the last post should read “The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations hosts an internet chat forum.”

    Peace

  27. J. Payne

    It’s funny… nothing is really a magic bullet one thing about diesel is it would become very expensive during the winter months of the North.

    Diesel is mostly a mixture of traditional home heating oil and petroleum gas and once all the homes in North America and Europe start firing up their furnaces demand would push the price of diesel way up esp. if it was used as a petroleum gas alternative.

  28. jamaicangirl2007

    I think it would be foolhardy of the Caribbean to continue to produce sugar for export….We are not competitive…I mean there are still some sugar producing areas in the world whose labour we could never compete with because they have “slave-like” labour. To be honest….the Caribbean is in a mess…..we are highly dependent on tourism and we haven’t got it in our heads yet that sugar, banana etc is dead…We wouldn’t be able to compete with Brazil for instance…so an ethanol plant, unless it is for personal consumption, is worthless…just my view…..but where do we go? We all seem to have a set of politicians throughout the region, who are self serving and have given us no clear direction for our future…

  29. james

    jamaicangirl, I’d agree with you if the Caribbean was simply trying to compete in the mass market. Our sugar will never be competitive in comparison to China and Brazil, but the same is true of anything that we produce – we simply don’t have the economies of scale or vast pools of cheap labour to do so. However, we can compete in niche markets which are not based soley on price. Look at rum – Brazil can produce it for a fraction of the price but don’t have a product to compete with the up-scale MountGay brand. And what would we do in place of sugar ? A different crop is going to be exactly the same – uncompetitive – for exactly the same reasons. There’s only so many golf courses and condos we can build and leaving the land to turn to scrub isn’t exactly appealing. I don’t really see an alternative to finding niche markets where some of our products can compete globally.

  30. Inkwell

    What would be the point of setting up an expensive plant, paying expensive local labour (even if it was available) to produce ethanol which would be more expensive per liter/gallon than we could import it from Brazil? That is a no brainer. Since corn and corn based products, including poultry and pork, will become steadily more expensive as the US pushes ahead with its corn based ethanol production, we would be better off replacing our sugar cane with corn.

    That would have the added benefit of maintaining the aesthetics of the island to keep the tourists satisfied.

  31. jamaicangirl2007

    James: You are right…there are so many and no more condos, golf courses etc you can put up…..let’s not forget how fragile the tourism sector is….one hurricane and that’s it! It could wipe out an investment in a matter of hours…..

  32. james

    inkwell, you’re right but it does (marginally) make sense right now due to high oil prices, EU investment and foreign exchange outflows. As far as I can tell, the EU are putting up the bulk of the money for the facility. With no effective capital payback required this allows local production of ethanol to replace around 10% of oil imports relatively competitively, minimising costly Foreign Exchange outflows and providing some energy security. Yes, the ethanol will be expensive because the raw material (sugar cane) is expensive. But the net benefit to the economy will be positive with a number of ancillary benefits that wouldn’t be achieved by using scarce foreign exchange to buy Brazilian ethanol. Still, it’s probably fairly touch and go whether it makes sense or not.

  33. Citizen First

    A few thoughts on this issue (re. the sugar industry) – in considering our options we seem to be almost exclusively concerned with generating foreign exchange and for what? … to purchase more cars, cosmetics, amusements etc as our appetite for these things grows unabated. To get the next fix, the next dose of “bling”, we (the nation) behaving like metaphorical drug addicts sell everything we have including our land and (sigh) even ourselves. In accordance with economic theory (i.e. comparative advantage) we abandon agriculture, fishing and manufacturing and focus almost exclusively on tourism and services.

    Any restructuring of our economic sectors can only make sense if there is restructuring of our social and spirtual structures. I will call this our cosmological view. By this I mean how we see ourselves as individuals, our roles as integral members of a community called Barbados and how we care for those resources and assets that will sustain not only our physical lives but will sustain our quest for meaning and happiness. Economic objectives and strategies such as “developed status by 2020″, “use of land for its highest economic use”, seem to guide us only to our misery.

    In the interest of brevity I commend to readers

    1. “Never Enough” – Richard Hoad’s excellent and provocative commentary in the Weekend Nation of 27 July, 2007, ( http://www.nationnews.com/story/301786588655882.php )

    2. a quip by the Right Excellent E.W. Barrow that he was not sure about the high cost of living but that he did worry about the cost of high living.

    3 a thought provoking piece by José Barreiro – A Note on Tainos: Whither Progress? ( http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/41/013.html ) from which the following extract is taken (please note the last sentence):

    “By all descriptions, Taino life and culture at contact was uniquely adapted to its environment. Population estimates vary greatly but put the number of inhabitants in Española (Santo Domingo/Haiti) at approximately half a million to seven million. Estimates for Cuba vary from 120,000 to 200,000, with newer estimates pushing that number up. Whether one takes the low or the high estimates, early descriptions of Taino life at contact tell of large concentrations, strings of a hundred or more villages of five hundred to one thousand people. These concentrations of people in coastal areas and river deltas were apparently well-fed by a nature-harvesting and agricultural production system whose primary value was that all of the people had the right to eat. Everyone in the society had a food or other goods producing task, even the highly esteemed caciques and behiques (medicine people), who were often seen to plant, hunt, and fish along with their people. In the Taino culture, as with most natural world cultures of the Americas, the concept was still fresh in the human memory that the primary bounties of the earth, particularly those that humans eat, are to be produced in cooperation and shared.

    Comparison of the life-style described by the early chroniclers and today’s standard of living in Haiti and Dominican Republic for the majority of the population, as well as the ecological degradation caused by extensive deforestation, indicates that the island and its human citizens were better fed, healthier and better governed by the Taino’s so-called primitive methods than the modern populations of that same island. (Tyler 1988) ”

    In anticipation of those who will say there is no going back, my anxious query is then, where to are we going ?

  34. Peltdown Man

    James

    the net benefit to the economy will be positive
    _________________________________

    Finally, someone who understands the true picture. Of course, we cannot compete with Brazilian ethanol, but they will be exporting worldwide, and have a huge domestic demand. Barbados will hardly be worth a look. The real benfits of producing ethanol are massive savings in foreign exchange (at current import levels and prices, about $400 million per year), and maintenance of the countryside, which is already deteriorating before our eyes. Production of ethanol from corn is eight times as costly than for the same quantity from sugar. That’s the “no-brainer”, Inkwell. The rainfall levels and poor soils make sugar cane by far the best crop for Barbados, and prices will go higher. Oil prices will never come down, and are most likely to rise. The saving will be even greater. And this is a renewable resource, producing savings year after year. Sell the land for condo’s and golf courses, and its a one-shot deal. Gone forever, with the payback being a few low-level jobs as maids and gardeners.

  35. Inkwell

    Since sugar cane will grow nearly everywhere that corn will, why is the US willing to spend 8 times more in producing ethanol from corn. Are you sure of your figures, Peltdown Man?

  36. Peltdown Man

    Inkwell

    Pretty much, and I don’t think that you’re correct on the sugar/corn growing area. You can’t compare the scruffy-looking corn that we eke out here for animal feed with the stuff grown in the American plains. The farmers there are experts at corn, probably the world’s largest staple foodstuff. And don’t think that the sugar farmers in Florida will be missing out, either. They are already gearing-up. Sugar – “the new oil”.

  37. The facts are easily available. Just Google into “ethanol production” and on page 1 read The Economic Feasibility of Ethanol Production from Sugar..”

    I will quote only one sentence:

    “The estimated ethanol production cost using sugar cane, sugar beet, raw sugar & refined sugar ARE MORE THAN TWICE THE COST OF CONVERTING CORN INTO ETHANOL”

    So no more inventive fantasy, Peltdown Man. Get the facts straight!

  38. From the same article quoted from above you will also see that one can produce 141 gallons of ethanol from one ton of sucrose.

    Barbados’ full annual sugar production of say 45,00o tons would accordingly produce a measly
    6.3myn gallons of ethanol which has only 70% efficiency compared to gasoline.

    According to Index Mundi Barbados imports 11,000 barrels of petroloeum products a DAY, or 4myn barrels a year which amounts to roughly 160myn gallons a year.

    If we dedicated our entire sugar crop to ethanol production it would account for less than 3% of our island’s energy needs. A total waste of time and money.

    Switch to producing corn makes more sense. (Except for what we need to make rum)

  39. james

    Greengage, sorry, it’s a bit more complicated than the line you pasted above. The relative economics depend almost entirely on the cost of the feedstock. If you were talking about the US alone, you’d be right, the economies of scale of producing vast quantities of corn (sugar cane can’t be grown everywhere in the US) mean that it’s cheaper as a feedstock than sugar cane. In Brazil where the North East has ideal sugar conditions the opposite is true. In Barbados, due to similar conditions, sugar cane would be cheaper. However, even if you discount this, producing ethanol from sugar cane is less costly than producing it from corn. This is because the starch in corn must first be broken down into sugar before it can be fermented, adding costly processing. Further, sugar cane waste (bagasse) can be burned to provide process energy for the ethanol plant, reducing associated energy costs, and improving sugar ethanol’s energy balance. Gallons of ethanol produced per acre of crop is 570-700 for sugar cane and only 330-420 for corn. Even if corn were cheaper (and it ain’t), the environmental devestation that would result in corn replacing sugar cane in Barbados would be enormous. Sugar cane is a grass and holds the thin topsoil together extremely effectively and helps prevent flooding and erosion. Think of the disappearance of sugar cane from Barbados the next time your car stalls in the floods around Holetown…

  40. james-
    Please cite your source for saying sugar cane can produce 570-700 gallons of ethanol PER ACRE. That is a weird and suspect figure as production per acre varies so much. It equates to four tons of sugar per acre or 56 tons of cane per acre which is far fetched.
    That is why ethanol production per ton of sugar is more accurate.

    Production of corn in the U.S.A. is much higher per acre than sugar, and the conversion ratio more than twice as good. So I want to see how the USDA can be so wrong.

    As for burning bagasse rather than leaving it on the ground as mulch, tell me what percentage of fuel requirements it saves; less than 10% I would bet.

    Rainfall in the U.S. is far heavier than Barbados yet their corn fields do not suffer erosion, so why should they here? It has already been said Barbados has light rainfall. The floods we have are in the areas where the soil does not absorb the rain. After the cane is cut do you see eroded cane fields after heavy rains? No.

    As for our thin soil, much of our cane is grown in the St George Valley where the soil is up to 30 ft deep. Little cane is grown these days where the soil is thin.

    Cite your sources, please.

  41. james

    A number of different sources. Most are probably online:
    1. USDA, The economic feasibility of ethanol production from sugar in the United States. June 2006.
    I think this is what you originally referred to but have a look at the difference between corn and sugar conversion costs in the US vs. Brazil. Cost of feedstock is critical.
    2. Nature, Dec. 7, 2006 pp670-654
    On yields per gallon. This varies heavily per country and per crop.
    3. United Nations Environment Programme,
    Relative environmental value of differenet types of ethanol and sustainability criteria
    4. World Energy Council & US Energy Association:
    “Ethanol Investment, Corn, Sugarcane & Market Potential” April 28, 2006.
    See particularly the section entitled, “by all measures sugarcane is more efficient”
    5. The Economist
    Oil price at which fuel is viable (US$80 per barrel for corn based ethanol, US$40 per barrel for Brazilian cane ethanol).

    Burning bagasse eliminates 100% of energy costs in the production of ethanol. Identical to sugar production in this respect (even our old factory at Port Vale produces all its own electricity).

  42. james

    Or, alternatively, depending on who you want to believe, Ethanol is less environmentally friendly than gasoline due to the acreage used to create it and energy inputs.
    Sod it. I’m off to drink some rum which is a far more interesting by-product…

  43. james-
    Looks like you were into the rum before you wrote that “bagasse eliminates 100% of energy costs in the production of ethanol.”

    You know full well that bagasse is burned to produce steam in the boilers, not electricity.

    It would be a costly process for that steam to work turbines for electricity.

    If Barbados could produce cane/sugar as cheaply as Brazil there might be a case for ethanol production here, but they can’t and never will.

    You have not disputed that Barbados’ sugar production is too small to make ethanol production worth the while for such a minute fraction of our energy needs.

    Cheers!

  44. Prospects for the medium/long term resuscitating and revitalization of the sugar and non-sugar agricultural industries of Barbados can only be enhanced and enlarged with the election into governmental office of the right party – the People’s Democratic Congress – that shall continue assisting wherever necessary and in the right ways and with the right people involved with the stabilizing, restructuring, and reviving of what has for some while become the sagging and stagnating agricultural industry of Barbados.

    We do not have to state it, but contrary to what was articulated by the BLP in their acceding to political office in 1994, concerning their supposed plans for the resuscitation and revitalization of the sugar and non-sugar agricultural sectors of Barbados, instead of those ideas and programs for planned resuscitating and revitalization of these sectors bearing much fruit, what the people of Barbados have in fact seen is the further long term marginalization and degradation of these still important productive sectors and, almost conversely, the unnecessary accretion of our food import bill.

    What we have also seen is the lowest sugar output ever having been recorded under this BLP. More and more of our arable and fertile agricultural lands are fast becoming either idle, fallow, or being converted into uses entirely unconnected with the growing of foods crops, the raising of livestock, and such other related farming purposes, since the coming about of this BLP Government in 1994.

    And, of course, our local agricultural sectors have been beset with certain trading, competitive, standards, pricing, financial and political challenges and issues, mainly of a global and imperialist dimension, and which, jointly or severally, have helped to raise the costs of agricultural production in the country, while at the same time lowering agricultural output; have helped to reduce overall incentives for attracting or maintaining investments into these sectors or even for inducing expansion in the relevant areas; have helped made it harder for our agricultural exports to gain entry into some external markets, and thus also have helped brought about in the present circumstances some very risky ventures into esp. some areas of non-traditional, subsectoral agri-based revenue-generating market activity, more than ever before.

    Although the BLP and some other major political, agricultural and financial stakeholders must ultimately be apportioned blame for the crises and paralyses in many facets of our sugar and non-sugar agriculture, the people of Barbados must be assured by the People’s Democratic Congress that agriculture must and will continue to play a very important role in our commercial and industrial development, and our social, cultural/aesthetic and environmental development as a country.

    Hence, A PDC Govrnment will by making sure that Barbados assumes complete autonomy/sovereignty over the “price factor” of those goods and services resident in the Barbadian jurisdiction/ domain vis-a-vis making sure that ALL goods and services imported into Barbados are zero-“priced” at all points of entry, and that ALL exports of goods and services are paid for in local currency/”prices”, and that along with those measures there is the Abolition of Taxation and Interest Rates, and the ensuring that Institutional Loans for productive (investment) purposes are made non-repayable, etc., that there is in the final analysis achieved and given sufficient stimuli not only to sugar and non-sugar agriculture, but also by extension to the entire material production and distributve sectors of the country, in so far as will enable far greater national production and distribution rates of growth and development for Barbados and for the benefit of ALL Barbadians.

    With this “price factor” being controlled fully by Barbadians there shall be so little emphasis on whether or not new brands of Barbadian sugar will increase the value added for the sugar/cane sector of Barbados; on whether in macro-terms fuel cane grown in Barbados for ethanol production is or is not a better alternative to the importation of fuel into Barbados, and such like statements which themselves are based on fallacious reasoning, and instead greater emphasis on the maximization of the quantities and qualities of goods and services produced and/or distributed across Barbados at the lowest costs possible, whether for local or external consumption.

  45. anon

    who is behind this congress. you are mouthing irresponsible ideas. you cannot have a society without taxation.

  46. Whoever they may be, their spokesperson better learn to write shorter sentences if anyone is to make head or tail of their intentions.

    By “making sure that Barbados assumes complete control/sovreignty over the “price factors” of those goods and services” in Barbados it appears they have in mind a centralist government like that of Burma (Myanmar).

    If so, back to the Stone Age.

Tell the world what you think about this!

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