BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 12, CMC – The Barbados government is undertaking a study that could result in a ban on a number of food products imported here.
Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management Minister, Dr David Estwick said that survey would also assist the government in reducing the high food import bill, since any produce which could be grown locally would not be imported into the island.
Last year, the food import bill stood at US $326.8 million.
“When we get to that stage when that information is determined and proven, rest assured and as long as I am Minister of Agriculture, I am going to Cabinet and those crops will not be imported into Barbados as long as we can produce them,” Dr Estwick told a town hall meeting on the agricultural sector.
“Where there is a production cycle and we have evidence that we can produce the majority, we will utilise the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) model under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. I think it is Article 21, which makes it quite clear that… no produce can be imported into the CARICOM region unless you have first applied to COTED (Council of Trade and Economic Development) and there is a demonstration that another country cannot produce the amount that you would want.”
He said that such a model would be employed locally within the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) where “certain items that can be produced on a rotational basis in Barbados will not be brought in when we get the information (from that study)”.