By Theresa Goodwin
The Agriculture Committee on Barbuda is exploring the possibility of expanding production in two key areas as part of renewed efforts to revitalise the sector and strengthen food security.
The Chair of the committee, Devon Warner, explained that the seven acres of land at the Highland, which was once used as the production site for a variety of peanuts that grew on the island, is one of two areas being looked at.
“That area, with assistance from Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Caribbean Agriculture Development Institute (CARDI), I have acquired some fencing wire and also with assistance from the Beach Foundation, we have acquired materials to do a nursery as well up there,” Warner said.
“We are also in the process of getting some posts to fence the area. That is major right now because I see it as one of the most active production areas for the Barbuda Council. Very little production took place on the southern side of that farm and that is an area we plan to utilise for the next couple of years.”
It is hoped that the fencing of the property will be completed by May in time for production to begin.
Another recommendation that Warner intends to make to the committee, is for the lands at the Sand Ground farm to be divided into parcels, with an invitation to local farmers to cultivate in the same space.
He made the suggestion as he explained that it will take manpower to run the operations at the Highland farm and the small Agriculture Committee is already stretched.
“By including the farmers, this would eliminate the cost — which is normally borne by the local farmers — of having to purchase wires, posts, and other materials. With seven of eight farmers in the compound, they will also have the support of the Council in terms of machinery and assistance as we all would be in the same area,” Warner said.
The Agriculture Committee will be meeting next month to make a final decision on the two projects.
Barbuda is currently reaping the benefits of a major crowdfunding project that is being spearheaded by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Agriculture Development Institute (CARDI), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Barbuda Council.
The Barbuda component of the project includes the construction of a seedling nursery, a rapid multiplication humidity bin to grow roots and tubers, the installation of drip irrigation systems and the distribution of five different types of seeds to small scale farmers and backyard gardeners.