You can’t make a meal out of Barbados sugar. What fools we are.

Our old friend Colin Beadon posted the following lament about our agricultural failures in our Open Discussion section early Saturday morning. Colin’s post came just as we were reading comments from the US Ambassador to Barbados that our government’s support of sugar “defies logic.”

Here’s the thing, folks… We can’t profitably grow sugar cane for any purpose, whether for foreign or domestic sale, for food products or fuel. We used to do it, but the world changed and we can’t do it now. We’ve shown we can no longer do it.

But we can take that land and commit to growing foods that we can eat and market profitably. Food and water are in some ways, the new oil. (Photo by Shona)

Here’s what Colin had to say…

What utter Fools we are.

On the BBC 26th August.

” If you want to do well in coming times, become a farmer. For the best Expectations, go Far East.”

The number one growing problem in the world, is fast becoming one of Food. There seems to be a little staggering towards this realization in Barbados, at last, that something must be done with agriculture in a big way. There are those of us who have been constantly screaming about it, but our voices are now hoarse, and age has taken away our insistence.

But ”One day, one day, Congotay. That’s what the old people say.” Will the true revival of Barbadian agriculture come too late? Will we really ever start eating our own grown and raised food again, where we have control of what pesticides and what forms of fertilizers we use ?

There are so many great farmers, all over the world, suffering war, and drought, and all forms of persecution, and here we have land, going to useless waste, with good rainfall, and mostly mild conditions, and we have to import 90% of our food requirements. What utter fools, fools, fools we are.

Colin Beadon


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Sugar

12 responses to “You can’t make a meal out of Barbados sugar. What fools we are.

  1. HM

    Barbados is importing way too much food. Is it any wonder the prices are so high? The island needs hard currency for these imports too.

    Too much land is going over to property development rather than agriculture.

  2. Alice in Dreadland

    Put realistic measures in place to protect farmers, small & large against crop & animal theft. Then it might actually make some sense to encourage people to move into agriculture…..I have an 80 years old plus aunt who cycles to her plot of land every day to plant, hoe, weed & fight the african snails. What the monkies don’t take the thieves do. And when the theives steal her pidgeon peas they don’t just take a pint or two, they rip up all & I mean ALL of the bushes. The sad thing is that even if these little b#*#*ds were caught red handed what sort of punishment, if any would they actually get? Meanwhile the work of an 80 year old woman is gone & she has to use her meagre pension to buy food that she had tried to grow…..This makes me so angry I could spit….Encourage my children to get into agriculture in Barbados, NO BLOODY WAY.

  3. Alice, You make vibrant point, yet it is not that crop and animal protection cannot be done. It is the lack of will, generally, the slackness of those involved in administration. They’d rather pick up seaweed, that every few years drifts along our shores in large volumes, and then melts away again. Seaweed drift is part of the natural process, but farm protection is part of what administration is supposed to look after, by hook or by crook. But administration portrays lack of teeth and claws. One wonders what half of them are paid for , and they’d never sit in a field at night attempting to trap crop thieves. Poor wets, they might catch cold, or find a frog sitting beside them. They don’t have a clue how to sit in the dark, and set trap.
    Even if the culprits were caught red handed, at present, the law courts wouldn’t stick it to them. So the whole system needs violent revamping.

  4. Nostradamus

    Quote of the week by By Richard “Lowdown” Hoad Fri, August 26, 2011
    THE LOWDOWN: Lef’ de donkey dey . .

    “Concentrating agriculture in the fragile, difficult to mechanize Scotland District while putting our best agricultural lands irreversibly into development is unacceptable. And why on earth would I rent 1 000 acres of land in Guyana when every day I drive past 1 000 acres of prime, unused agricultural land in my own country? And it don’t have snakes either.”

  5. You got it Nosta,
    What we don’t have is the guts to protect the land from thieves. If we don’t stand up soon, the thieves will be in our homes too, whenever they feel like it. As life gets tough, the tough get tougher, or they go under. It is, in the end, the law of the Jungle, properly or un-properly administrated. The choice is up to all of us, as to which way we want to get it done. People don’t stray on farm property in Texas, unless they have a liking for lead.

  6. Dum done brek-in!

    The thieves are already in our homes…LOL!

  7. Pieter Pieper

    Those in authority will never allow a resurgence of agriculture—food crops.They are part of a system which profits more from the importation of food.Moreover,our people have been brainwashed by the fancy packaging and advertising of imported foods.Why eat corn meal pap when you can eat Kellogg’s corn flakes.In addition,land is divided up into tiny lots so that everuone can own “a piece of the rock” whereon we build little outhouses in preference to growing food.Praedial larceny is rewarded by leniency of magistrates who themselves like imported foods and don’t give a damn about locally grown food

  8. Concerned

    Sugar is a losing proposition. We should be growing higher value food crops that can be sold and consumed on the island first and foremost. That would reduce our food imports, reliance upon transporting food and positively impact foreign exchange.

    We must kill off sugar. We must.

  9. Dey so!

    Concerned: I disagree that we must “kill off” sugar. It died a long time ago. It’s only the european subsidies that keep it at all viable and that money won’t be here in two or three years. Vegetables, fruits and feed stocks are better depending on the quality of the soil. CROP THEFT IS THE REAL KILLER. Who can make a go of agriculture when thieves take everything? It is all falling apart without respect for laws, isn’t it?

  10. rasta man

    Anyone of the experts thought about aloes? Aruba has a thriving aloe business and Barbados aloes is known world wide.

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