Friday, April 12, 2024

Food bill in Estwick’s hands


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The recent switch of Dr David Estwick to the Ministry of Agriculture has brought interesting discussion to radio.

The general belief is that Dr Estwick has been given a ministry that is not that glamorous.

Apparently, in order to be considered a political heavyweight, one must have more prestigious ministries.

The discussion clearly shows that there is still a stigma to agriculture, which seriously undermines its importance to economic development.

Here we are paying high prices for imported food while the thinkers and influential consider a move from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to Agriculture a political step downwards.

No wonder that the last administration forged ahead with an economic model designed to encourage golf courses and luxury condominiums, while ignoring the food and agro-based industries.

Backyard gardening

As I recall, the former Prime Minister waited until late in his last term to talk about backyard gardening.

That clearly showed that agriculture was a mere afterthought in the vision of economic prosperity.

At this point in our economic development, unless we identify agriculture as a pivotal part of our strategy, we will continue to struggle.

Unfortunately, those who hold that agriculture means cutting cane, and digging yams and potatoes, will continue to believe and encourage the current mindset.

Once again the words of Errol Barrow are remembered: “Champagne taste and mauby pockets.”

No wonder we are buying imported ice cream, apples, and everything else, while the mangoes and cherries fall to the ground or are left for the birds!

When an economist produces a plate of food, or runs a well managed farm, I will be more than impressed.

I have not yet seen anybody eat charts and theories.

But all things are possible. If Dr Estwick could change this negative concept of agriculture and bring down our food bill, he would have achieved more than all the economists.

Perhaps, he could save us all from socio-economic collapse.



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