Tag Archives: Agriculture

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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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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