Tag Archives: Barbados Sugar

US Ambassador to Barbados, 2006: Owen Arthur’s sugar decision “defies logic and sours prudent budget”

Barbados EU Sugar Aid

Sugar is over, finished…

With the recent revelation that the Government-owned Barbados Agricultural Management Company left 1000 acres of cane to rot in the fields – and that our country’s total 2015 sugar harvest might not reach even 10,000 tonnes, BFP re-blogs this post.

It’s time to leave sugar behind. It is a deep, dark hole that sucks money and energy from this nation. None of our children will cut cane or pick cotton, and the cost of Barbados sugar production is the highest in the world.

It’s over folks. It’s over.

Almost ten years ago, BFP asked Prime Minister Owen Arthur about his plan for sugar…

Remind me… what was the Barbados government plan to replace the sugar revenues?

Oh ya… I remember now…

1/ Beg the Europeans for money – playing upon white man’s guilt.

2/ Sell the rest of the island to foreigners.

Ya… good plan, Owen!

Barbados Free Press

“Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.”

“This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.”

“Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.”

Mary Kramer, US Ambassador to Barbados, January 27, 2006

WikiLeaks just released a massive new treasure trove of US Embassy Bridgetown previously secret cables.

We’re looking at many of them in our article WikiLeaks: Massive release of Barbados US Embassy documents. You can help too by going to WikiLeaks Embassy Bridgetownpage and digging in!

But we’re going to post this cable on its own because it makes for very interesting reading.

Considering our current economic situation, Barbados Labour Party supporters will jump right on this cable as vindication…

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Filed under Barbados, Economy, Sugar

Growing Our Own Produce. For God’s Sake!

‘Precious Millions are spent on daily dalliances that have nothing to do with critical issues.’

by Colin Leslie Beadon

Plant your Barbados Victory Garden!

India has recently experienced a huge power supply failure where millions of people were affected in so many ways without electricity. Without electricity, just about everything of commercial business these days comes to a stop, besides most homes, schools, hospitals, gas stations, airports, et al. But such a power outage does not necessarily kill anybody.

However there are one or two other such product failures that can do very dramatic damage to human endeavour, but few of us in Barbados seem aware of these things. They are: Food and water.

The lack of these two items is much more extreme in the results they cause, but nobody who has not been through such a dilemma as extreme thirst or extreme hunger or both; or seen a society suffer from such depredation, would fully appreciate where it leads.

So let us spell it out: Such depredation leads to the complete breakdown of most societies (Read ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond). The scene becomes horrific beyond most imaginations. Only the very strong survive it, and for a time. The old and the very young are lucky for they are the first to die.

“Britain, during the war, started producing 91% of its own food in small allotments farmed by villagers and town’s people.”

Victory Gardens

When England was deep in World War 2 and the shipping lines had been drastically cut and the winters were long and miserable, the British started intensive agricultural development. Everybody got down to growing vegetables on every available square of soil they could find; parks, empty housing lots, swimming pools and playing fields became Victory Gardens. This is what saved the UK when it came to food. Britain, during the war, started producing 91% of its own food in small allotments farmed by villagers and town’s people. Remember they had winters to contend with also. We don’t have winters in Barbados, and so apart from dry spells, there is little to stop us producing our own food All -Year -Through.

The British discovered that small lots ( 14 yards by 4 or 6 yards wide), looked after by concerned people, produced much higher quality and yields of produce than did huge commercial farms on a square acre average. Even the Russians have started to discover this as have the Chinese. Farms run by governments anywhere in the world are enormously unproductive and wasteful. That goes for a lot of other things governments decide to run on their own, like airlines, oil fields, and hotels. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Economy

Vegetable garden allotments: a sensible way to use abandoned sugar lands

Cuban gardening version of Bajan ‘De boys on de block’

Vegetable gardens of Cuba and England

by Colin Leslie Beadon

At least twice I have written to the newspapers about encouraging small garden lots around all villages in Barbados, where ground that used to grow sugar is doing nothing except encouraging the further importations of fruit, vegetables, livestock. This idea of small garden allotments should be taking place in Barbados, besides which it would encourage and provide work for youth, and something for the more elderly to do.

No, this work does not have to be done in the hot sun. Early morning, late evenings, is the time to get this lot done. If the lots were chosen within a short walk from homes, there would be little time lost and no transport needed.

This is not a new idea, the use of lots close to a village. The English were forced to do it during the war, and it is still very popular there although stopped during winter months.

The Cubans work lots at great benefit. Go the blog ‘The Vegetable Gardens of Cuba’. Look at the pretty pictures and read what it says.

It is high time Barbados get sensible about its use of land, and tackle the problem of excessive and unnecessary food importation. There are so many benefits to village lots, in the nature of the food, and the simple way it can be grown, and in the healthful God-given work to be done.

Further Reading

Apartment Therapy: Vegetable Gardens of Cuba (Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy)

City Farmer: Havana’s Popular Gardens, Sustainable urban agriculture

BBC: The vegetable gardeners of Havana

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados

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