Transportation critical to CARICOM agricultural Trade, says Barbados Minister

Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, made this observation during a recent farewell courtesy call from outgoing sub-regional coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, Florita Kentish.

“There is a desire to obtain food from sources as close as possible to your location, so it is important that we buy food from our neighbours. However, we can produce all we want but if we can’t move the products there will still be food security issues,” McClean explained.

Stating that assistance was needed at the multilateral level, she suggested that private sector and citizen buy-in were also essential to the process. 

Agreeing with McClean, Kentish stated that an enabling environment, legislation and “regulations without barriers” were important to accomplishing regional transportation for trade purposes. 

Kentish noted that the private sector wanted to see policies in place but stressed that there still needed to be an enabling environment, adding that the government-led initiative on the agriculture white paper addressed policies and an action plan for Barbados.

The foreign affairs minister praised the outgoing FAO official for the role she and her organisation played in the island’s agricultural sector. 

She said: “Barbados has seen a new energy in agriculture. We have seen interesting developments in the sector with farmers moving towards agro-processing.”

Wishing Kentish a happy and fulfilling retirement, McClean acknowledged some of the FAO coordinator’s achievements, including “making significant headway with policies and action plans in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States”.

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