I feel excited for the people of Barbados!
Barbados produces flour, sweet potato, breadfruit and cassava
As part of the Caribbean Pacific Agri-Food Forum 2015, a group delegates visited the Barbados Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC). I was part of the lucky ones who were part of the Learning Journey, whereby we observed the production of cassava flour.
This is big business for Barbados. It will reduce the dependence on importation, as well as encourage Bajans to embrace and value their local products.
This is a step in the right direction, to correct the culture of importation in the Caribbean.
The video below shows how flour is produced from cassava.
It doesn’t end there.
Barbados makes sweet potato fries
The Bajans thought – If we can make flour, why not try some healthy, vitamin A rich fries?
Armag Farms has been in operation for two years, supplying mainly locals; restaurants and homes. The factory operates once or twice daily, based on demand. It also owns 900 acres, which is the only source of potatoes for the production line.
What is the value of sweet potato?
Now sweet potato is often recommended to diabetics by nutritionists because it’s a naturally sweet carbohydrate, it is complex, contains antioxidants (read more on the benefits here) and with the current state of diabetes worldwide, there is a demand for healthier, tasty alternatives – which is where its role comes in.
Then we went to the chocolate factory 🙂
Barbados also makes chocolate!
Although the island is one of the few that does not produce cocoa beans, it will not be left behind in the production of tasty by-products – chocolate!
The Learning Journey also took us to The Green Monkey Chocolatier that has been in operation for four years, experimenting and perfecting a formula that will have the market screaming for more fine chocolate.
We had a little bit too much chocolate than we are accustomed to, but we didn’t mind because they were all delicious – from pure white to dark brown chocolate.
Barbados and other islands are ahead, the others need to catch up.
I know it is not easy, operating costs are way up high, but from a policy standpoint, governments need to create the environment to facilitate this type of growth. With this in place, more Caribbean countries will enter the field of production, create products that natives need and are accustomed to. Often times they are more beneficial – health wise.
A major challenge that was discussed on the Learning Journey was the unwillingness of the hotel industry to support local farmers and local manufacturers.
I find this strange!
Why do we have tourists coming to the Caribbean to experience our culture and you feed them with products from their country that they can sit on their couch and order online?
Let us show them what the Caribbean has to offer and package the products in such a way that they are attracted and want to take them home, share it with a friend who may have enough influence to have it imported in the country. That is how it works!
Let us get it right Caribbean people! We have too much to offer to be in the position we are in.
Let us promote Caribbean cuisine, using our native products from local farmers and manufactures.
Produce in the Caribbean for natives and foreigners!
Blogpost by Shelly-Ann Irving, Social Reporter for the Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum 2015.