Friday, April 19, 2024

Eastmond: Can more fruit


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BARBADIANS NEED TO INVEST more in greenhouse technology and agro-processing.This is the view of opposition parliamentarian Rawle Eastmond, a former Minister of Agriculture.He told the House of Assembly yesterday that canning, bottling and packaging their processed fruits and vegetables could help farmers especially in times of glut, when there is a threat of spoilage and when some people are forced to dump commodities.“We can be able to save the farmers a lot of frustration, keep their incomes at a certain level and. . . . we may even be able to process and can different commodities to replace some of the junk dumped on us from abroad,” Eastmond said.“It seems to me that the time has come when we should enhance our fruit production because fruit production lends itself more readily to agricultural processing than cucumbers and cassava and yam.”Eastmond also promoted greenhouse farming, including the use of hydroponics, saying it stopped farmers from being victims of inclement weather.“We have to continue looking at the greenhouse culture, the hydroponics and search for technology,” he said.“I recommend that we look to technology in Germany and Sweden, where they have a high emphasis on greening and where Sweden, I believe, is able to produce machinery that is able to take out the weeds and the bushes from the land and leave the real plant alive.”Eastmond also wants to see Barbadians growing more flowers.“There is an existing demand for Barbadian cut flowers in Europe and. . . . based on our success at Chelsea [in the annual show] we should be encouraging this country, through its private sector, to get involved in the business of the production of flowers,” he remarked. However, he advised caution. “We should tread carefully,” he suggested. “We should look at the implications of the cost. We should look at the implication of transport and such like.”Eastmond was speaking during debate on a move to validate a 1999 rebate to farming people who import agro-processing machinery. (TY)


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