Submitted by Readydone
How can we transform Barbados from an uncomfortable reliance on services?
Next time you walk into a supermarket take a good look around and enjoy the experience, after all, you are paying for it, the light bill, the manager’s mortgage, all of it is coming out your pocket even though you think all you are buying is food. Very little of your money is used to pay for food, the most of it is for the convenience of getting the food to you.
If you had to run down a yardfowl every time you wanted eggs for breakfast or pluck a chicken every time you ate a snack box, I am sure most of us would be father-thin vegetarians. So we go to the supermarket for our food every month or so but how reliable is the supermarket? The short answer is it isn’t. Let me illustrate.
It takes 3 days for all the shelves to empty in every supermarket when there is a hurricane watch, 3 days tops, that is how long it would take for us to start feeling the effect if the supply of food was to halt. Then what? I hope you have a backup plan, I got my kitchen garden.
Submitted by Readydone
Expecting Barbados food sources to transform from export to domestic is a very mighty task. This is compounded by the fact that we get up to five times our population in tourists annually. The result: the demand for food fluctuates too quickly for farmers to accurately judge what the market will be like when the crops are ready to harvest up to four months away. Our previous agriculture model of exporting sugar had numerous advantages for our small island. The fact the sugar takes a long time to expire and has excellent shipping and handling properties means that the farmer was almost guaranteed that his crop would be sold.
If agriculture is to survive given our small population, and benefit a greater number of people, not just the few that can afford the protection of the large greenhouses required if you want to grow vegetables for profit. We either have to find a more suitable export crop or promote the kitchen garden again. Baird Village Aquaponics has done some interesting research into finding an export crop. We researched rice, tobacco, grapes and soybean – all good – but Quinoa as a food crop for Barbados is showing the most real life potential, international research suggests the plant does not do well at low elevations, but Barbados has a very interesting environment that I personally believe can grow any crop.
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Sir Kyffin Simpson
The traditional corporate sector, in the Caribbean and in Barbados in particular, is not known as risk takers. Quite frankly, we believe that the development of the region has been systematically hampered by this traditional corporate class which has deep roots in the retail trade and are often afraid to venture out of their comfort zones.
This fear has led to the virtual paralysis of agriculture and has left the door wide open for foreign investors to reap benefits in industries such as manufacturing and tourism. Even in the area of sports and other leisure activities, this corporate group has often ignored investment opportunities. They preferred to invest in: private yacht clubs, polo and other activities, which have no real appeal to the masses. However, it would be dishonest to argue that their investments in horse racing have not brought employment opportunities for the working class.
We have noted that the failure of the corporate elite to heavily invest in West Indies cricket, is a glaring example of leaving the field open to the Kerry Packers and Allen Stanfords ,sometimes with negative results, as was the case of Stanford. West Indies cricket was fractured to some degree by Kerry Packer but we survived that episode, quite well, because the players were handsomely rewarded. Stanford turned out to be a dishonest investor.
Image Credit – Rosemary Parkinson
The following article was extracted from Rosemary Parkinson’s Facebook Page. She has become known on Facebook and BU as a strident advocate for one cause or the other as it affects Bajans. A read of Rosemary’s Bio can be an intimidating experience; where does she find the time and energy! At the core of what she does is publishing books about the foods of our region BUT her interest gleaned from her BIO is far-flung.
Love it. First OUR LOCAL DAIRY tries to fool the people with their so-called “fresh” milk that was not fresh but some new-fangled bad-tasting excuse for milk that could last on a shelf for 90 days.
When the people screamed, OUR LOCAL DAIRY thought they could fool even more people by putting same into the coolers of supermarkets but the taste remained the same and no matter what OUR LOCAL DAIRY did for marketing, nothing worked.
CEO of OUR LOCAL DAIRY says “consumption not like it used to be”…well Sir WHOSE FAULT IS THAT, PRAY TELL? You admitted that people used to drink more milk in the past…so you gave yourself the answer one time but just in case you still doan get it. WHEN THAT HORRIBLE MILK DID NOT SELL, WHY DID YOU NOT TAKE YOUR LOSSES, SCRAP DE PROCEDURE AND REVERT TO THE REAL MILK THAT HAD BEEN SELLING WELL FOR YEARS EH? Oh! No! No!…you believed that we the people would soon get over our disgust and begin the consumption of what you felt we had to consume whether we liked it or not. Perhaps your marketing man should have heeded my words at BMEX when you first launched there and he insisted this milk was “fresh from the cow”…for I said clearly…THE PEOPLE WILL NOT LIKE THIS…YOU WILL LOSE!
The following extracted from Youtube:
Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?
When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.
After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.
This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.
More information can be found at:
Submitted by Old Onions
Barbados food bill out of control
What we can do to help ourselves …
Let’s face it food prices are not coming down anytime soon. Nor will certain promises that were made about “Priorities” some four and a half years ago, will be materializing, given that six months is all that’s left for scope.
So what can we do for ourselves to stave off the Dollar Monster living in the supermarket who seems hell bent on gobbling up the remainder of our savings, or sending us away with nothing much in hand? Times are not easy internationally this we know only too well.
With food prices rising, many of us (especially women) have already become well versed in the art of trimming our food budgets. In some instances, we have simply sacrificed on the quality and/or quantity of food eaten. In the face of inflation, many families may have no other recourse.
David Estwick – Minister of Agriculture
The threat by Minister of Agriculture David Estwick to resign if his ministry does not procure an increase in its budget allocation can be analysed from a political or economic perspective. Did the recent Cadres Poll which labeled Estwick a political lightweight on the leadership index spur him to become more active? View his outburst against the background that he is the only one from the E11 to follow through on a promise to sue the Nation Publishing Company. BU recalls Minister Ronald Jones promised to do the same. With a general election on the horizon a lot can be explained in the political context.
BU prefers to give Estwick the benefit of the doubt and to suggest by his outburst he has become frustrated at the lack of significant progress in his ministry since his transfer. It is the most optimistic Barbadians who believe that as a country we are committed to finding a way to increase production in the agriculture sector. The transformation in thinking required to influence policy as well as to gain buyin from the ordinary Barbadian remains a dream. What is also known, the government in waiting is committed to a service economy with token focus on agriculture.
Earth Day today
As this blog is being given life the clock ticks away on Earth Day. The fact that its significance is not mentioned in any serious way in the local media, or any strident mention made of it by those responsible in government and other relevant NGO agencies, sums up how confused we are about what our priorities must be in 2012. Ironically there is currently a lot of play about who should buy our precious land resource to build a hotel at Heywoods or guest houses at Whitehaven. It is to be regretted that Barbadians are not able to work at achieving multiple objectives at the same time given the current reality.
The perennial issue of the need for Barbadians to prioritize building out a plan to ensure food security and the focus Earth Day brings to the matter bears a mention. What will it take to create the awaking among the current generation of Barbadian that we must plan to feed ourselves, our children and generations to come? Food security is no joke and while we cannot have 100% food security there are initiatives which individuals and government alike can mobilize to mitigate the risk of doing nothing.
Are we happy that we can continue to earn enough foreign exchange to be able to stock our supermarket shelves with five brands of shoe polish, ten brands of cereal etc.? Whither the plan to engage in functional cooperation with Dominica and how can we leverage the wasteland of an emerging Guyana which yearns for investment? What the hell are we doing?
Image extracted from Facebook, BU apologizes if anyone finds it offensive
Successive Barbados governments in the last twenty have shown little appetite to develop a vibrant agriculture sector. There is now a resignation by all but a few that the way services go so too the economic fortune of Barbados. The Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) chief spokesman on economic matters Clyde Mascoll is on record dismissing any significant investment by his government in the sector, reason being the high cost of inputs. The commonsense view that investing in a homegrown agriculture sector has more to do with addressing food security seems to be lost on policymakers. Of course there is the other reason which has to do with protecting our right to grow food which is not genetically modified and at the same time align with the positive message that healthy lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor.
This government has uttered the correct messages regarding the need to etch an agriculture policy. However after four years there is not much one can honestly agree has been accomplished. There is the news making the rounds that the government currently has several acres of land under fruit cultivation. The project is expected to supply local demand. Up to the time of posting this blog BU was unable to identify the location. The reality is that members of government reflect the values of the society which produced them.
Have just returned from The Bahamas where I delivered a presentation on the future of culinary tourism…so I was very pleased to see all the above comments re food except for alien’s own. Sir or Madam – this is a blog about food not about sexual food but real food, the kind one puts into one’s stomach through the mouth – how black and white sex gets into here is beyond me…but I guess some minds just are able to turn everything into a barrage against whites because of historical facts whether they were good, bad or ugly (and they were all but it is past and these sexual unions have produced a wonderful colourful people of all hues, some who eat healthy food and others that open their mouths and immediately show what their stomachs are filled with so that the brain is never in gear with today’s life but seems to have been left to fry in the dirty oil of history. Whilst we should not forget, we should be happy we are now gorgeous Caribbean people with great soul food, and turn our thoughts positively about that! To each his own sadness I guess.)
Yes! Fast Food is not cheap. Yes! Fast food is unhealthy. This cry has been going out now for a very long time. But the fast food business is booming and will continue to do so because we are a lazy lot. And yes! what we do not realize is that Fast Food is also ‘addictive’. And yes! Fast Food can cause us to spend more with the doctor (they are happy…has anyone seen a poor doctor ’bout hey?).
It’s a common notion that part of the reason why so many people are overweight and obese and saddled with diet-related chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes is because they simply can’t afford to eat healthy. But are healthy foods really more expensive than their junk food counterparts?
An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times, by columnist Mark Bittman, argues that you can actually feed your family home-cooked meals for less than it costs to go to McDonald’s. Most people can, in fact, afford real food, Bittman argues. Which means, of course, that money alone doesn’t guide decisions about what to eat. In fact, the convenience, pervasive presence, and the addictive nature of processed food may be far more important factors.
Is Junk Food Really Cheap?
Most families nowadays are juggling not only tight schedules but also tight budgets, and when it comes time for dinner, a $1 hamburger from a fast-food “value menu” may seem like a frugal option. You have the U.S. government to thank for that $1 hamburger, as U.S. food subsidies are grossly skewed, creating a diet excessively high in grains, sugars, and factory-farmed meats. So there is some truth to the idea that junk foods can be cheap.
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever – Psalm 93
With average rainfall topping thirty year levels. We are seeing “floods” of water every where. Not all destructive, many of you have rain water harvested but feel it is not effectively utilized. It is surprising that an island that has no large bodies of surface water has invested very little in micro-level fresh water conservation.
All the necessary hardware components are available around the house or ultimately the store. Cheap water tanks, reused containers like bath tubs and pipe fittings combined with energy efficient water pumps have made post-industrial food production technology affordable for the home owner.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss
BU has been concerned for some time about the quality of food we import. The import bill is reported to be approaching one billion dollars. Escalating use of preservatives and hormones by so-called respectable manufacturers has legitimize many products we eat. The most educated among us are too ignorant to question the quality of food on supermarket shelves in Barbados. While we have focused on the shady behaviour of Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified foods, the question we need to have answered is whether local and regional suppliers have been engaging in unwholesome manufacturing practices.
Robert’s Manufacturing controls the animal feed market in Barbados which makes it an obvious target. Can the management of Roberts Manufacturing confirm if its animal feed were to be tested would it be found free of unacceptable levels of growth hormones and antibiotics?