During a visit to Barbados to attend the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, met in Bridgetown with the country’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, assuring her that the hemispheric organization - which specializes in agricultural development and rural well-being - would provide technical support for a plan to multiply sheep herds, thereby contributing to food security in this Caribbean country.
Bridgetown, Barbados, 9 October 2018 (IICA). The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, was welcomed to Bridgetown by the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, whom he assured that the hemispheric organization - which specializes in agricultural development and rural well-being - would provide technical support for a plan to multiply Blackbelly sheep herds, thereby contributing to food security in this Caribbean country.
Barbados is aiming to multiply and improve herds of Blackbelly sheep, an icon of the country and the breed that has best adapted to tropical agriculture, from 15,000 to 600,000 sheep over the next ten years, in order to increase their productivity, guarantee the provision of meat, develop a leather industry, and produce an exportable amount of goods.
The country also has the goal of developing a small ruminant dairy sector, particularly with the aim of supplying the tourism sector with these milk products. This would foster linkages between the food and service industries and the tourism sector, which welcomes 200,000 visitors each year.
The Honourable Prime Minister informed the Director General of IICA of two of the priorities of her administration: developing agriculture as well as increasing food production on the island in order to guarantee the country’s food supply. She also requested IICA’s support for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security of Barbados, which is headed by Indar Weir, in order to build the capacities of rural producers in Barbados and increase their access to new technologies and funding.
“In fulfilling its role as a bridge between countries and regions, IICA is prepared to assist Barbados with a clear action plan aimed at multiplying Blackbelly sheep herds as well as contributing to capacity building in the local agriculture sector. The Government and Parliament of Barbados are determined to continue prioritizing agriculture as well as swiftly modernizing the sector. IICA wishes to contribute to increasing access to technology in the country, in order to develop the beekeeping and greenhouse sectors, among others,” stated Otero after his meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister.
On the other hand, the Representative of IICA in Barbados, Ena Harvey, stated that the organization’s office in the country is “committed and prepared to take on the challenge and to work together with the Government to drive this new vision for agriculture. We want to back the efforts undertaken by Barbados to boost youth participation in and contributions to the development of modern, smart agriculture.”
The Director General of IICA also thanked the Honourable Prime Minister for her contribution to the book entitled “Warriors – Rural Women Around the World: 28 Enlightened Voices,” which IICA will launch next week during the commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women. The Head of Government of Barbados is one of several prominent figures who contributed to the publication.
Otero also met with the Honourable Sandra Husbands, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Barbados, with whom he discussed matters related to trade in agricultural goods in the Caribbean region as well as the inclusion of vulnerable youth through the development of job opportunities in the agriculture sector.
Otero also engaged in dialogue with Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, Ambassador of Argentina to Barbados, regarding trade and cooperation between the South American country and the Caribbean region. The Director General’s work agenda also included a meeting with IICA personnel in the Caribbean nation.
Ena Harvey, IICA Representative in Barbados