Tag Archives: Barbados 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

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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Should Barbados allow the Monsanto seed monopoly? Can we stop it even if we want to?

Monsanto Seeds

“Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not “creating” or “inventing” a plant. These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.”

… from the Global Research article The Seeds Of Suicide: How Monsanto Destroys Farming

“Monsanto works with farmers from around the world to make agriculture more productive and sustainable. Our technologies enable farmers to get more from every acre of farmland.

Specifically, we are working to double yields in our core crops by 2030. These yield gains will come from a combination of advanced plant breeding, biotechnology, and improved farm-management practices.”

… from the Monsanto website Our Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture

“In the nearly 20 years of applied use of G.E. in agriculture there have been two notable ‘successes,’ along with a few less notable ones. These are crops resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (Monsanto develops both the seeds and the herbicide to which they’re resistant) and crops that contain their own insecticide. The first have already failed, as so-called superweeds have developed resistance to Roundup, and the second are showing signs of failing, as insects are able to develop resistance to the inserted Bt toxin — originally a bacterial toxin — faster than new crop variations can be generated.”

… from the NYT as quoted in Prison Planet’s Even the NY Times is now rejecting Monsanto GMO science

BFP thanks Green Monkey for suggesting this article

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Dr. Robert Lucas: Taking issue with the scientific illiterates

Barbados Sugar Cane.jpg

Tropical soils, Temperate soils: What’s the difference and does it matter?

In the Advocate newspaper of 8th April 2013, there was an article captioned “Organic agriculture can boost restaurant sub-sector.” Immediately below the caption in bold font was the following statement: “In temperate countries like the UK, the organic matter content stood at 5%. In Barbados on the other hand….the organic matter content in most soils was less than one percent.” The statement also appeared in paragraph five of the article. In paragraph eight of the same article, the following appeared: “Conventional methods contribute to green house gas emissions and can cause inefficiencies in energy use..” The two statements were attributed to the National Co-ordinator of the United Nations Development Facility Small Grants Program (GEF SGP).

In biology there is a concept called the temperature quotient. The temperature quotient is a ratio of the velocity of a process at a given temperature to that at a temperature 10 °C lower. In biological systems the temperature quotient is about 2-3. This means that there is (using the lower figure) a doubling of the rate of a biological reaction for every ten degrees increase in temperature. This doubling effect occurs up to certain temperature beyond which, there is an adverse reaction due to effect of heat. Since tropical countries are hotter than temperate ones, one would expect tropical soils to have little or no soil organic matter. Obviously, if fresh vegetation or pen manure is added to tropical soils, initially, soil organic matter will be high. This, however, is only so for a short time. The duration of organic matter is further reduced in the presence of air and water. Another fact to be considered is the carbon /nitrogen ration of the added vegetation or manure. If the nitrogen content is too low, the rate of decomposition is retarded: the converse occurs if there is adequate nitrogen available. Pen manure or vegetation added to the soil is broken down by soil micro-organisms. Students of biology would have encountered in their studies the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are the ultimate products of the decomposition of manure and vegetation when added to soils as is the case when fertilizers are used.

I have stated in the past that, the majority of Barbadians are scientific illiterate and the article referred to, supports what I have been saying for years.

Sincerely

Robert D.Lucas, Ph.D.

Food biotechnologist.

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Science

Barbados yogurt production ends – exposing more hollow government rhetoric

“Whenever practical, buy local.”

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

When we moved to Barbados almost 25 years ago and  purchased what was a semi-derelict Arawak Inn and beginning our journey in hotel operation, as non-nationals, not surprisingly, only a handful of suppliers would extend us credit. We have remained fiercely loyal and faithful to that small group.

So when PineHill made its entirely unilateral decision to stop producing yogurts it went entirely in the face of a policy we implemented when Peach and Quiet opened: “Whenever practical, buy local.”

“It is almost incomprehensible that this decision by PineHill was made at a time when our struggling dairy industry is trying to survive in the wake of a massive unsold milk glut.”

One or two people have indicated that PineHill did in fact issue a public notice in the media to the effect that they would no longer be manufacturing yogurts. But wouldn’t you, as a matter of course, write to customers that have traded with you for two decades?

After all, we have never been to busy to write and sign, literally hundreds of cheques to them over that period. It almost reeks of arrogance and indifference on their part.

So what do the 160 or so registered hotels, hundreds of villas, apartments and condominiums do now?

In our own case we have been forced to purchase imported yogurts from a distributor, who bring in the French brand, Yoplait. While the individual containers do not show a country of origin, the packaging does and indicates that they are made at their US subsidiary in Minneapolis. So at a critical time, when we are trying to retain every cent of foreign earnings, here we are importing an item that has a long history of local production, that is being trucked and shipped by refrigerated transport over a distance of at least 6,000 miles.

Just think about the carbon footprint for a minute.

Surely the company has to publicly explain why they have chosen this time to cease production and why it is no longer viable? With over 500,000 long stay visitors annually plus sales to locals, cruise ship companies and inflight caterers, what is the problem?

Another point that should be raised, are the recognised health benefits associated with yogurts and would it not be in the national interest to encourage more consumption. Foreign alternatives almost certainly will be more expensive and in these challenging times that alone will stifle demand.

I was also surprised that yogurt attracted 17.5 per cent VAT, as it surely could not be considered a luxury food item, but more a weapon against obesity and digestive disorders. Back on 13th January 2011 under a large attention grabbing Nation News banner headline ‘Bigger Basket’, the then Minister of Trade stated that more VAT exempt items would be added to the ‘basket’. Once again, this appears to be only just more rhetoric.

I really hope that PineHill will re-consider their decision or alternatively take steps to relinquish their near monopoly of milk processing, by giving another manufacturer a chance in Barbados.

The Line in the Sand…

With rights there are responsibilities and while yogurt may seem to some as an insignificant part of the bigger picture, but to me, it’s the line in the sand.

After yogurt, what comes next?

Will PineHill then transfer milk production to Trinidad, because due to energy costs, its cheaper to boil the liquid there?

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Bajans pick cotton, cut sugar cane twenty years from now? Let’s get real!

Does Barbados really have a cotton industry?

Cotton industry ‘revamp’ same talk we’ve heard for 40 years

submitted by Bleeding Hands

Barbados takes pride in our educated population and in our status as an ‘almost’ developed nation. The recent economic setbacks might have pushed us back a step or two, but this is a worldwide phenomena not exclusive to our country. Bajans should be proud of what we have achieved together in the last four decades.

One of the social changes brought about by our development and increased education, however, is that few if any of our young people aspire to jobs or business ownership in agriculture and especially not in agricultural sectors reminiscent of the plantation era of our history. If one could grow tomatoes or other food crops and make a decent living that is one thing: sugar and cotton are another world entirely in the minds of bajans and for good reason. Aside from the unprofitable nature of the those two crops, sugar and cotton have historical baggage that young bajans want nothing to do with and I cannot blame them.

Despite the unemployment on this island, Barbados has to import labour from other countires to work our sugar and cotton industries. That is because our population rejects the work, and they reject it because they have been conditioned to reject it – and also it pays nothing or next to nothing. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Cotton, Economy, Sugar