AS BARBADIAN FARMERS regroup and find their way back to viability after fallout from the pandemic, their umbrella body is ensuring that members are adequately equipped to do so.

On Saturday, December 03 2022 the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) hosted a strategic meeting for members which have been organised into various commodity groups.

BAS’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) James Paul said that the farming community had been exposed to several shocks, chief among them a lack of funding which forced several of them to give up on their businesses.

“Farmers now are caving in and some are even leaving the industry,” Paul said. He continued: “The revenue base is being depleted, so if we don’t start now to reset things in terms of the problems they are facing, show them the different approaches including going after a wider revenue base and repositioning themselves.”

He noted: “The same things that we said in the past that attracted people to the organisation cannot be the same now, we have to recognize that it has changed and we have to make sure that the message that we are sending to people is relevant and people can connect to the message at the same time.”

In attendance were the Dairy and Beef Producers Association, the Pig Farmers Association, the Barbados Apiculture Association, the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association, the Barbados Sheep Farmers Association, the Barbados Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Barbados Rabbit Farmers Association.

Chief Agricultural Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Keely Holder encouraged the participants to be strategic when lobbying government by tabling plans that can be delivered, make a contribution to the wider economy and which demonstrate increased and improved output with the use of smart agriculture which includes technologies such as location systems, sensors, artificial intelligence and robots on farms.

Following her presentation the groups created a way forward for their particular sector with a unanimous intention to increase productivity, move towards export while other groups placed special emphasis on increasing membership and getting tax reductions and better equipment.

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