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Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, speaking to the media following a tour of the BARVEN outdoor marketplace on the Mighty Grynner Highway. (Photo: N Phillips/BGIS)

‘No food shortage’, Bajan agriculture minister assures

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, speaking to the media following a tour of the BARVEN outdoor marketplace on the Mighty Grynner Highway. (Photo: N Phillips/BGIS)

Barbados Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Indar Weir again sought to allay the fears of his countrymen that there is no shortage of food supply in the island during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

While speaking to the media after a tour of the BARVEN Outdoor Marketplace on the Mighty Grynner Highway, he disclosed, instead, that there was surplus of some agricultural commodities on the island and, as such, there was no need panic.

“I can only urge Barbadians to take advantage of the opportunities that would arise because I [recently] saw a reduction in pork prices when persons buy a certain minimum amount…”

— Indar Weir, minister of agriculture and food security, Barbados

“We have produce in the poultry industry that we have excess[ive] supply of because the hotels are closed…fast food restaurants are closed,” Weir revealed.

“I can only urge Barbadians to take advantage of the opportunities that would arise because I [recently] saw a reduction in pork prices when persons buy a certain minimum amount, and that initiative is indeed a good one and one that I support, but this is part of the push and pull for demand and supply. There is no need to panic,” the agriculture and food security minister continued

Cheapside Farmers’ Market in Bridgetown, Barbados (Photo: Business Barbados)

Weir outlined, further, that the Government of Barbados has plans to put to use an additional 750 acres of land for agriculture. He added that farmers had begun to plant crops such as tomatoes, lettuce and cabbage and were expecting thme to reach maturity within four to six weeks.

“We’ve started that process, and we will continue to monitor it and continue the weekly reports that are required,” Weir noted.

Ryan Smith, who is autistic, and his mother, Suzette Griffith, participating in the Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) programme. (Photo: Barbados Today)

In the same breath, the minister addressed drought concerns raised by farmers. He stated the Government is taking steps to ensure that farmers at Spring Hall, St Lucy, and River, St Philip, had access to a consistent supply of water, which should help them keep up with the demand for fresh produce during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.