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Monday, 30 November 2015

Tackling food security in Barbados

It is no secret that Barbados imports the majority of the food it consumes. Eating habits here have changed over the years, and the exposure to a large amount of foreign items means that the youngest generation of Barbadians – are for the most part – no longer consuming the ground provisions, vegetables and other crops their foreparents did years before. This has several implications, including allocation of national budgets and the use of foreign exchange to buy food from foreign producers, the danger that Barbados – especially the younger ones with so-called fast food tastes will not get the required nutrition, the negative impact such foreign foods have on the health of the population, contributing to chronic non-communicable diseases, and an over-reliance on imported items that leaves the country vulnerable if there is ever an international shortage, commodity price increase or conflict that prevents shipping. These and other considerations will continue to challenge Barbados for as long as it depends on the international community for key foods such as wheat, corn, and rice. An important question is what can be done, and what has been done, to ensure that Barbados and the wider region attain what is commonly called food security and, by extension, nutrition security. The issue is one which continues to generate debate in Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean. In Barbados’ case, five months ago Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Esworth Reid said Barbados’ food security was under threat, and that the agriculture sector was at the point of crisis.

Source: Nationnews.com