Tag Archives: Agriculture

Loveridge: After unprecedented government concessions to Sandals, the company pays only lip service to Bajan agricultural suppliers.

Sandals' Butch Stewart doesn't look like he's starving to death.

Sandals’ Butch Stewart doesn’t look like he’s starving, but little of what he and his resort guests eat is Bajan.

“What must be clear to Government, is that after granting the unprecedented unilateral concessions to Sandals (which almost two years later not a single other hotel on Barbados has been able to obtain), Sandals must do more than give lip service to supporting our agricultural sector.”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

First let me declare my absolute and total support for those advocating the use and consumption of more locally produced items especially by our tourism industry.

When the head of the Barbados Agricultural Society recently boasted that Sandals Barbados were purchasing 1,000 lbs of local produce each week, no-one thought to question him as to what this actually means. In all fairness to James Paul, he stated that they were trying to increase this amount, but let’s look at the current figures.

If the hotel is full that is a capacity of 580 guests each night who have every meal and snack included in the cost. This equates to a volume of just 4 ounces per person per day.

And that is before any allowance is made for the quoted 600 staff and management taking meals on the property.

The United States is currently the largest market for Sandals and the average American, according to internet informed information, is 36.6 years of age, is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 190 lbs if male, or 5 feet 4 inches and 164 lbs if female. Again based on averages each American consumes nearly 5.5 lbs of food per day or a short ton per annum.

Over a year this includes 29 lbs of French Fries, 23 lbs of pizza, 24 lbs of ice cream, 53 gallons of soda, 24 lbs of artificial sweetener and a staggering 2,736 lbs of sodium, which is 47 per cent above the recommended medical limit. All of which add up to 2,700 calories daily.

The question should also be asked, is the average Sandals guest likely to consume more or less than they do at home than on a fully all-inclusive vacation?

In reality then the 4 ounces of ‘local produce’ represents less than 4 per cent of consumables used daily, therefore a proverbial drop in the ocean. 
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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Cotton crop in danger as Barbados Government unable to pay pickers for last year’s work

Barbados picking cotton

Labour Action a result of no pay for a year

Contributed anonymously by Rotten Cotton

Our 2015 cotton crop is in danger of rotting in the fields as fewer than 10% of last year’s 150 registered cotton pickers are willing to work, and this year the crop is almost double the size of 2014.

The problem is that the Government of Barbados hasn’t been able to pay the pickers for the work they did a full year ago, picking the 2014 crop.

Guess what folks? You promise to pay agricultural workers a certain amount for each pound of cotton and you don’t pay them for a year… what happens is that nobody shows up to pick the next crop.

Got that Prime Minster Stuart?

It’s a simple and basic concept that this government hasn’t grasped I know. The government can put off paying suppliers, contractors and government employees when the money can’t be found, and those people will hang in waiting for the government to catch up on payments.

But you can’t do that to poor agricultural workers for a year or they walk and that is exactly what has happened.

“How bad is the financial situation really when the government puts the whole 2015 cotton crop at risk because they can’t pay workers their 40 cents a pound that has been owing to them for a year?”

The newspapers and television are full of cotton stories with politicians, Agricultural Ministry officials and industry spokespeople hyping the value to the economy and the doubling of fields planted over last year but hardly anyone is talking about the growing sense of danger – some say verging on panic – that is spreading throughout the cotton community.  Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Cotton, Economy

Kick Starter staff picks new project by Permaculture Research Institute of Barbados

by Lorraine Ciarallo

The Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI) of Barbados has been in the making since 2012 and I am proud to finally announce that our project has started.

A couple days ago CPRI launched its KickStarter crowdfunding video campaign which I would like to share with you. The purpose of our project is to set up a permaculture school in Barbados to teach, educate and demonstrate through the principles of permaculture how to grow food, repair landscapes & build community. Permaculture is a design science, inspired by nature and guided by ethics. Its purpose is to meet the needs of humanity while benefiting the environment. To this end, it empowers individuals, local communities and the larger public to build sustainable & environmentally friendly:

  • Food and Land Systems
  • Social and community systems
  • Shelter and home systems
  • Livelihood and business systems

I hope you will take the time to watch the video. If this campaign is successful, it will help ensure the life of this project, a project which I am committed to for the next 3 years. It is super exciting for me to share it with you and I hope, you find it exciting too!  Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Energy, Environment

Time for the Barbados Revegetation and Restoration Act

Barbados Sugar Cane.jpg

by Born B’badian

Bajans used to have big mouths, and gossip would spread faster than lightning.  It worked to help keep people straight, cause nobody wanted to be known as a crook or a thief. But reputations dont matter anymore in Bim. Furthermore, Bajans so busy buying and building bigass houses they can’t afford to furnish properly, and bussing their behinds to pay for, that they do not pay attention to what is going on in the country.

Bajans were never victims like I see now. They were always quick to open they mouth and cuss you out or land somebody a blow longside their head for doing them wrong. But now, the process has changed where people putting well known fall down drunks to run the country and crooked lawyers to handle the money matters of the country. The old people who sweat in the canefields to make Barbados a good place to live must be ready to jump out the grave with a fresh tamarind rod to beat everybody behind.

The people in Bim who still living sweet, are the ones who fix their little house good, and still have money in their pocket. They still planting a little kitchen garden and some fruit trees, instead of wasting precious land with front lawn. It is a sin to be importing vegetables and fruit, even seasonings from other islands while only grass growing on a big patch of land, taking up water, and keeping the place hotter than the devil’s hell.

Bajan’s got to stop letting foreigners buy their land, its the only thing we really own. People can’t go to Singapore and do this. Errol Barrow, God rest his soul, tried to base Barbados off of Singapore, but the current corrupt in power let toutmebackIlah samcouche and the duppy, get citizenship, buy land and do whatever they want on the island. Of course, bajan’s vote them in like loyal beggars blinded by cornbeef politics.  Ain’t no community spirit anymore, cause everybody lockup in their big house hiding that they eating saltfish and breadfruit and can’t pay the bills, or thiefing and whoring to pay them bills. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Economy, Environment

Aquaponics makes farming profitable and productive

Barbados aquaponics

by Damian Hinkson

If farming were easy we would all be doing it! After all, food is our most basic need.

So it stands to reason that farming should be profitable, however that’s not the case. I will explain why using the three points below and then provide one solution to make farming profitable in Barbados.

First point is that we need to take a look at the big picture. If it was an equation farming would equal (carbon/nitrogen) + photosynthesis = calories. Each of the 3 parts requires energy inputs to bring the product to point of consumption.

Second, the source of all energy on earth is the sun and the general rule is; the quicker it can be harvested the more sustainable it is, while the longer it is stored the more harmful it becomes. (eg: hours from solar panels vs. thousands of years from oil/gasoline.)

The last point and the only one under man’s control is; control the energy and you control civilization. Unfortunately older type, harmful energy is easier to control therefore it is the type of energy our current civilization is built upon. Continue reading

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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Threat or salvation?

Hello BFP, Green Monkey here. You might find of interest the following article from Prison Planet:

GMOs could cause ‘irreversible termination of life’ on Earth, risk expert warns…

When discussing the issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — that is, organisms bearing the genetic traits of other species or bacteria — the focus is typically on how safe (or unsafe) these novel, food-like products are for humans. But distinguished risk engineer and two-time best-selling author Nassim Taleb thinks an even bigger problem with GMOs is their threat to the planet, and the statistical likelihood that they will eventually lead to the collapse of life on Earth.

In a new study, which is still in draft form, this professor of risk engineering from New York University uses statistical analysis to make the case that GMOs, by their very nature, will disrupt the ecosystems of this planet in ways that mankind is only just beginning to comprehend. Because they represent a systemic risk rather than a localized one — GM traits are known to spread unconstrained throughout the environment — GMOs will eventually breach the so-called “ecocide barrier,” leading to catastrophic ecosystem failure.

“There are mathematical limitations to predictability in a complex system, ‘in the wild,’ which is why focusing on the difference between local (or isolated) and systemic threats is a central aspect of our warnings,” Taleb is quoted as saying by Fool.com, noting that it’s essentially impossible to contain the inevitable spread of GMO traits far and wide.

“The [precautionary principle] is not there to make life comfortable, rather to avoid a certain class of what is called in probability and insurance ‘ruin’ problems,” write Taleb and his colleagues in their paper. “For nature, the ‘ruin’ is ecocide: an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.”

GMOs are not ‘scientific,’ and nearly every argument used in their defense is flawed…   Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Science

Could Barbados diversify its agricultural industry with marijuana-fed pork?

Pot-fed pork selling for US$20 a pound…

Well, it’s not like we’re making any money from sugar cane anymore!

Thanks to an old friend for suggesting this video

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Barbados Sea Island Cotton – Barbados Government backing ‘double your money’ slick stock scheme!

Now this is interesting. The Caribbean Sea Island Cotton brand has become Barbados Sea Island Cotton and to get the whole thing rolling again the Bajan Government is apparently backing a ‘double your money way too fast’ scheme.

More questions than answers in the video, but it does remind me about a BFP article published back in September of 2009. Here’s an excerpt…

Our bull manure warning meter spiked though when we read another one of those “Things gonna be just fine!” articles at the CBC – this one about Barbados cotton. Yup, right on schedule every year or so for the past ten years the government of the day announces that our cotton industry is going to be “revitalised” through better marketing. Nevermind that we haven’t the economies of scale to be competitive on the world market. Nevermind that we can’t even find sufficient labour to harvest the sugar crop in a timely manner.

Nevermind the naysayers, says the government to CBC, Barbados will “revitalise” the cotton industry. (Hmmm…. I think I smell a World Bank development grant out there somewhere.)

And how are we going to make Barbados cotton economically viable? How are we going to compete against China and India, the first and second largest cotton producers in the world? How are we going to profit in the middle of a recession where the commodity news services are reporting Recession hits cotton consumption, down 12% ?

How is Barbados cotton going to be profitable when India is using her booming economy to subsidize her cotton farmers so much that world cotton prices are forecast to fall by 6% in the next year?

How are we going to make Barbados cotton viable?

We’re going to make a “new brand”, that’s how! We’re going to sell to “upscale” markets. Yup, that’s what Agriculture Minister Senator Benn told the CBC.

Read the full article at BFP: Caribbean Sea Island Cotton brand to be killed by Barbados… as if a name change will solve anything

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France considers emergency ban on Monsanto’s genetically modified corn after study links cancer

Eating GMO foods dangerous?

by Green Monkey

In light of the recent news from France that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety of corn has been linked to significant increases in cancer in long term animal feeding trials (which Monsanto itself refused to perform).  I think it is important for Barbados Free Press readers to be fully aware of the risks they are potentially running by eating corn or processed foods from North American food manufacturers who now use large quantities of genetically modified crops from Monsanto and other GMO suppliers in their products.

Green Monkey

France to prove study linking GM corn to cancer

France has asked its national health body to verify a study released this week linking Monsanto’s NK603 genetically modified corn to cancer in rats, saying the results of the probe could lead to an “emergency suspension” of NK603 imports. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Consumer Issues, Health, Science

World Food Day is No Food Day for a billion hungry people

Agriculture Rule #1: Cultivation of Marijuana pays well. Growing food does not…

by Peter Webster

October 16, 2011 designated as “World Food day” has come and gone – or has it?

For too many of the billion hungry people the world over, most days are “no food day”. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) promoted the theme “Food Prices – From Crisis to Stability” to highlight a worldwide trend that is “hurting the poor consumer, the small producer and agriculture in general” because “food prices which were stable for decades have become increasingly volatile”. They concluded that “controlling prices was key to the fight against hunger”.

FAO further lamented that “Agriculture cannot respond fast enough with increased food production because of long-term under-investment in research, technology, equipment and infrastructure”.

The statement by the FAO Director General, Dr. Jacques Diouf, leaves several unanswered questions:

Why did FAO emphasize the volatility or fluctuation of food prices and not the fact that the prices were higher although fluctuating? How do higher prices hurt producers and agriculture in general? Why does FAO concern itself with the hungry? Since when are the interests of food producers the same as those of consumers? Could the high price of energy be a contributing factor to high food prices? Why is there under-investment in agriculture?

It is unfortunate that the FAO statement does not distinguish between the food producers and distributors.

Promoting more investment in agriculture is like “pushing rope” since it deals with an effect and not the cause!

Food producers around the world have repeatedly increased their production when they are adequately rewarded for their investment. Our experience in Barbados supports this.

When our government in 1971 taxed all of the nasty profits out of our highly efficient sugar industry (over $50 million between 1974 and 1981) the result was dwindling capital investment in the industry with productivity falling by 50% from a high of over ten tonnes of sugar per hectare to the five tonnes per hectare currently being achieved.

Our people supposedly abhor agriculture but several are reputed to be cultivating marijuana in discreet nooks and crannies around the island despite the risk of imprisonment.

Why are they not growing sweet potatoes and yams? Could it be that cultivation of the latter is not lucrative enough?

We need to stop expecting the food producers to feed the poor and hungry – this is society’s responsibility not the food producers who are trying to earn a living! Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Human Rights

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

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Sugar

Human Feces use in food agriculture no worse than animal feces – or, just as bad!

by Dr. Robert D. Lucas

Special to Barbados Free Press

In the 5th.of June Edition of the ‘Nation” newspaper, there was an article by Mr. Matthew Farley entitled: “Spain blamed.” Farley seemed to be concerned about the use of human feces in the growth of agricultural produce by the Chinese, while conceding the fact that, animal manures are used locally in agricultural production.

Nowhere in his article is it stated whether or not human feces were used in the cultivation of vegetables for salads in the current outbreak of food-borne illnesses in Europe. In the final paragraph of his article Farley urges Caribbean peoples to be cautious when growing vegetables using non-traditional methods. I have some comments to make on the above, but before I do so, I will review some aspects of food microbiology and food safety. Continue reading

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Canadian Farm Labour Programme: Bajans still waiting for their home savings

“Dear Barbados Free Press,

A month ago you publish an article about Bajan farm workers in Canada not receiving their holdback money after returning home. I’m still waiting can you please mention this?”

Editor’s Note: Done!

UPDATE: February 23, 2011 Meeting about Canadian Farm labour Programme

We see that the Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, will deliver an address at a February 23, 2011 review meeting of the Canadian Farm labour Programme at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Tongue firmly in cheek, we think that anyone who hasn’t received their “home savings” should be at the meeting and ask the Minister to write a personal cheque to cover it.

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Autonomous11: Bajan farm workers in Canada given runaround by Barbados government

Updated: December 4, 2012

With the news that Canadian, Bajan and other Caribbean government officials are meeting in B’town this week to discuss the Canada-Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Programme, we thought this thought-provoking article should come to the top for a day or two.

Also check out another hard-hitting BFP article:

Abused Barbadian farm workers cheated by Canadian Government program

Original article published January 6, 2011…

 

Harsh treatment in Canada and Barbados

“It’s repulsive to see that after all these years the Barbadian hard-working Canadian Farm workers, who work laboriously in Canada year after year under the harshest of conditions, still continue to be treated with disregard by the Labour office. It seems like one great hassle after the other when it comes to receiving your home-savings after returning home from the programme.

Year after year these agricultural workers are given the run around when it comes time for repaying these remittances, as though they’re begging for handouts or alms, when it’s their hard-earned money and the only thing they have to go by while at home until the beginning of another work season in Canada. I think it’s high time the Barbados government take their hands off this 25% pay-deduction from the workers…”

Read the entire story at Lance’s Autonomous11 The Barbadian seasonal Canadian farm worker’s dilemma

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Abused Barbadian farm workers cheated by Canadian Government program

Bajans unpaid and stranded in Canada

“The employers are protected but people doing the work are left defenseless by the Canadian government’s indifference to the abuse faced by migrant farm workers.”

The Canadian Seasonal Agriculture Workers Program was put in place by Canada for one reason: farm and agriculture jobs pay so little in Canada that there are not enough Canadians willing to take the employment. Canadian agriculture therefore relies on hardworking folks from Barbados, the Caribbean and Mexico who leave their homes, family and friends to work temporarily on Canadian farms.

It seems to me that the Canadian Government should be responsible to protect the workers, and to ensure that the farms and agricultural businesses that participate in the government program are viable.

Migrant farm work is a hard and lonely life, but workers travel to Canada because they must to provide for themselves and their families.

And then they get cheated… Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Canada, Human Rights, Immigration

Arsenic in our food? Keltruth looks at the frightening reality of what we eat…

Does Barbados allow the addition of arsenic to chicken feed?

While surfing the net yesterday I came across the latest from Keltruth Blog…

“Most chicken growers in the US add arsenic to the feed. One such additive is the antibiotic arsenic compound roxarsone. Arsenic additives are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but have been banned in the European Union since 1999. The FDA has been petitioned to ban arsenic, but as far as I know has not acted.”

… from Keltruth Blog’s article Are Most Americans Consuming Meat Laced with a Deadly Poison?

Yikes! I’ve heard all kinds of stories about the food we eat, but never anything about the deliberate introduction of the deadly poison arsenic into our foods. Whatever for? Aren’t there any alternatives available?

The Keltruth article sources many reports and incidents of poisoning and it makes me wonder if arsenic is added to the chicken feed made in Barbados. Strangely enough, one of the people who might know the answer to that question is none other than our Supervisor of Insurance,  Carlos Belgrave. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Health

Still not liking the taste of your “new” Pine Hill Dairy milk? Here’s why…

UPDATED: July 6, 2012

The recent trade dispute between Pine Hill Dairy and the government of Trinidad and Tobago is about package labeling – according to the news media.

With the ongoing dispute as a background we thought we’d revisit this article by Dr. Lucas that explains why you still can’t stand the taste of the new stuff, er, milk…

The following article was submitted to BFP by Dr. Robert D. Lucas.

Pine Hill Dairy’s “new” milk

Recently, in the local press, concerns have been raised about the labeling as “Fresh” and the refrigerated storage of ultra-pasteurized milk (UP). Pine Hill Dairy (PHD), in an attempt to address these concerns, placed full-page advertisements in the press. I will now explain the concepts of pasteurization, sterilization and fresh as applied to food products. A critical examination of the PHD advertisement is also given. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues

Friday lunchtime lecture: The Barbados Blackbelly Sheep: A valuable indigenous resource

Agriculture will never be a huge part of the Barbados economy, but it needs to be much bigger than it is now.   Every society must try to feed itself. Local food is especially important for tourism, because a substantial number of higher-end travelers place high priority on uniquely-local food.

The next lecture in the lunchtime series will be delivered on Friday 2010-August-06 by Mr. Leroy McClean, Consul-General for Barbados at Toronto, at the “Errol Barrow Gallery”, DLP Headquarters, ‘Kennington’, George Street, Belleville, St. Michael. The topic will be “The Barbados Blackbelly Sheep: A Valuable Indigenous Resource”.  As usual lunch will be served from 12.30 pm and the lecture will start at 1.00 pm.

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