Our disappearing agricultural lands – Public meeting Sunday

“We have 166sq miles to make this country home, to feed ourselves, to dispose of our waste, to provide jobs, to welcome the 1.1 million visitors per year, to make a sustainable use of the resources we are blessed with and to enhance our general well being. Land use policies must be fervently considered to ensure a sustainable future for all those living now, and those to come, if Barbados is to continue to prosper in a holistic manner. What we do to our lands, we do to ourselves.”

by the Future Centre Trust – courtesy of Kammie Holder

All are welcome to the public meeting to be held on recently transferred agricultural land in Lower Greys Tenantry, St George at 4pm on Sunday June 24.

Agriculture has come under the spotlight in recent weeks with the Minister of Agriculture himself standing up for his portfolio threatening resignation if Agriculture was not taken more seriously. With a greater dependence on internationally sourced food supplies, the country is putting itself at threat. “Pricing, supply, freshness of supply and access are all outside our control when imported food is on the shopping list!” says Nicole Garofano, Administrative Director of the Future Centre Trust. “Like a dependence on imported oil for the supply of the country’s electricity, dependence on external food crops simply because we are not recognising the value of our lands and improving those lands to feed ourselves, is detrimental to development in the long term,” she added.

During World War II, the late Sir John Saint spearheaded a national initiative which ensured that the agricultural lands of the time were able to supply food to the population. The region’s supplies were under threat with U boat activity across the Atlantic. Sir John recognised the threat and implemented this national initiative which enabled the people of Barbados to sustain themselves during that time. A brave move for the time, but it worked. Can Barbados learn from such innovative plans of old and work towards attaining some measure of food sustainability again?

There is the argument that speaks to the use of agricultural lands and that many acres of land which used to produce food and sugar crops are now lying dormant, so why can’t we just turn those over the money generator which housing is?  The change of use of these lands is not just about agriculture. People need to work in agriculture; support from many levels needs to be in place to continue agriculture; encouragement for the revitalisation of the industry from all sectors needs to be in place to successfully continue agriculture. All of these points are valid. But we must also consider the many other benefits of leaving agricultural lands as they are – they reduce loss of valuable rainwater which recharges our aquifers; they reduce run off; they reduce something called the ‘heat-island effect’ which increases heat in the local area when there is so much concrete in place. More concrete is more heat, is more electricity to run fans and air conditioners, is less water available, is less open spaces where the population can improve their peace of mind.

Speakers at the Sunday event include Senator Dr Frances Chandler O.B.E., Dr Chelston Brathwaite, Retired Senator and agricultural specialist Mr Keith Laurie, Ms Mia Mottley, and Ms Keeley Holder. The public are invited to hear presentations by the speakers and engage in discussion with a view to deliver the public view to Minister Estwick in support of his pleas in recent weeks.

We have 166sq miles to make this country home, to feed ourselves, to dispose of our waste, to provide jobs, to welcome the 1.1 million visitors per year, to make a sustainable use of the resources we are blessed with and to enhance our general well being. Land use policies must be fervently considered to ensure a sustainable future for all those living now, and those to come, if Barbados is to continue to prosper in a holistic manner. What we do to our lands, we do to ourselves.

All are welcome to the public meeting to be held on recently transferred agricultural land in Lower Greys Tenantry, St George at 4pm on Sunday June 24.

About Future Centre Trust

The Future Centre Trust is an environmental Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) and registered charity providing environmental education to the public of Barbados. Its mission is “To stimulate awareness and encourage responsible management of the vital relationship between people and nature leading to a sustainable future for all”. This is achieved through various programmes, activities and presentations to the community which are included and highlighted at www.futurecentretrust.org.

4 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Environment

4 responses to “Our disappearing agricultural lands – Public meeting Sunday

  1. what will they think of next

    How come these people never noticed this while the BLP was in office?

    Mia Mottley of all people?

  2. countryview

    Modern agricultural techniques require a maximum of 2,000 – 2,500 acres to feed our mean-average population of 400,000 people (allowing for population spikes during tourist season and extrapolating that spike to derive an over-all annual average population count)….our problem is not the “amount” of lands, there is more than enough to feed us….it is, rather. “how” we use them. And the fact here is we don’t use our lands anywhere near their maximum potential, quite the opposite. Barbados has a “hewers of wood, drawers of water” agricultural ethos and practice.

  3. Inkwell

    Of course it would be a forlorn hope to see a follow up blog reporting what transpired at the meeting to generate some positive discussion

  4. countryview

    Long talk transpired at the public meetings with little, if any, realistic expectation of anything being done…there is insufficient national will and cohesion…just a sheeple mentality of keeping a broken social system muddling along. It will take a national disaster to change the status quo and replace it with one of practical effectiveness from our available means.