Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, is pleased with the increased level of awareness Agrofest 2012 has brought to agriculture, the many synergies between agriculture and various sectors and the inherent value of each.
“I am expecting to see an increased awareness and an increased understanding of the importance of not only agriculture to national development, but to have persons really begin to appreciate the relationships that exist between agriculture and all of the other major activities that occur in Barbados,” commented Dr. Estwick.
The Minister highlighted synergies between agriculture and sectors such as tourism, education, health, manufacturing and energy, more specifically alternative energy.
With greater knowledge about the relationship between agriculture and health, Dr. Estwick would like to see greater use of fresh local produce in food preparation and a decline in the usage of processed foods.
With regard to manufacturing, he hopes to see more agribusiness development as persons realise that numerous secondary and tertiary products can be produced from the primary agricultural products.
Most pleasing, however, is the wonderful marriage of agriculture and alternative energy. Dr. Estwick said, “Where in the past we would heavily depend on the use of fossil fuels, electricity to drive the agricultural implements and lights, nowadays we are not thinking of running lights, we go solar, we go wind.”
As one traversed Queen’s Park during this year’s exhibition, the proof was visible as numerous booths were powered by solar energy. Looking around, the Minister says that through Agrofest 2012, people should become more aware of those linkages and they should see and understand that many products once considered unusable are now user-friendly.
“It is these types of synergies mentioned, that we are hoping this exercise will help persons to understand, those relationships and the immense value of agriculture therefore, to all of the sectors of the economy,” asserted Dr. Estwick on the final day of Agrofest 2012.