By Machela Osagboro
Barbudans are being urged to produce more of their own food after supermarket shelves on the sister isle were left empty for two days due to heavy rains.
New parliamentary secretary Knacyntar Nedd encouraged residents to beef up backyard gardening – a move she says will make Barbuda more self-sufficient.
She urged residents to “seize the opportunity to improve on what they have already started”.
“I know a lot of Barbudans who are into agriculture. So, I think this is the time because of what’s happening with climate change and I don’t think it will get any better. We are trying to encourage backyard farmers as well as the Barbuda Council to start being more self-sufficient,” she added.
Similarly, new Minister of Agriculture, Samantha Marshall was contacted and she denied knowledge of the recent shortage of food on island but also pledged to pay more attention to making Barbuda more self-reliant.
OBSERVER media also spoke to former Barbuda Council chairman and local supermarket owner Wade Burton who said the sporadic rains had “greatly” disturbed the food supply on the sister isle.
“Last week we had the boat come in once. Normally we have two boats bringing groceries for supermarkets twice per week. The shelves were empty last week – it was real horrible.”
Among the list of basic goods that were out of stock were sugar, toilet paper, rice and flour.
According to Burton this isn’t the first time that the rains have affected the supply of food. In fact, he stated that any weather anomaly usually affects the quantity of food in Barbuda.
Burton added that Barbudans just have to “hope that they have enough supplies in the cupboard until supplies come in. Otherwise they have to catch a flight to Antigua and buy groceries”.
When asked if there can be a permanent fix to avert this kind of crisis Burton said, “I don’t see much they can do because the times when I call to get other goods in Antigua there is nothing there. Given that everything comes to the islands by boat, even in Antigua, there is not much you can do to bypass that situation.”
A full supply of food returned to Barbuda earlier this week. The bad weather had affected the ability of boats carrying goods to traverse the hazardous seas.