‘Check with BAS’ before importing

Barbados must stop importing produce without consulting groups such as the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), said its chief executive officer James Paul.

Yesterday at a media briefing at the BAS’ The Grotto headquarters in Beckles Road, St Michael, he said the continued rampant importation of certain fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, pumpkins, bananas and onions, was forcing local farmers’ prices below production costs, jeopardising jobs and frustrating the producers.

“While the Ministry of Agriculture has contacted us [in the past] when there is a request for the importation of certain commodities, I would like to see that across the board where we don’t have a situation where import licences are granted without consultation with the farmers’ representatives in terms of what is in the ground.

“We want to have, going forward, some level of crop projection so we would know, based on what is out there, what is available and consumers would be able to have their requirements of vegetables for times such as Christmas. But we’re not going to be able to get farmers to plant if at the same time they have to compete with imports,” he lamented. (CA)

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