Water development projects critical for regional agriculture – President Ali

Lauds Government of Barbados for “transformational” catchment pond

His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali emphasised that the building of new infrastructure leads to sustainability as he hailed the Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley and her Government for launching the “transformative” Brown’s Catchment Pond project in St Philip, Barbados, over the weekend.

“If we are going to build an agricultural sector that ensures food security and sustainability with coming water shortages…then these investments are lifetime investments for the farmers. So this is an investment not only for the farmers today but for the farmers ten years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now to ensure that farming becomes sustainable in this community, and I want to say that that vision, that long vision must be transformative.”

The Brown’s Catchment Pond will have the ability to store more than six million gallons of stormwater and will allow farmers in the area to have access to water during periods of drought.

President Ali said that while massive highways and other large infrastructural projects are considered to be transformative, he is of the opinion that this project is also transformative, especially for the community, since it will secure and enhance livelihoods and give farmers a better shot at sustainable farming.

“It reduces risk, and if a project reduces risk, increases productivity, reduces cost of production, then it has all the components of a transformative project. So I want to congratulate the Government of Barbados and the people and the farmers of this community for this transformative project that would increase productivity and enhance your ability to be sustainable.”

HIGH INVESTMENT PER CAPITA

President Ali also lauded the Barbadian Government for making a high investment per capita in the area.

“In the most developed societies, in the most developed farming society, you don’t have that injection from government on a per capita basis. You have to be proud of what the government is doing to advance your life here.”

The President added that one of the highest costs in agriculture is drainage and irrigation, and if there is no proper infrastructure, then having sustainable farming practices will be difficult.

“So this investment is key.”

President Ali also lauded Regional leaders for committing themselves to the targets of reducing CARICOM’s food import bill by 25% by 2025 and pointed out that the Region’s ministers with responsibility for agriculture are advancing the process.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley and her Minister of Agriculture and Food and Nutritional Security, the Honourable Indar Weir, also delivered remarks at the event.

President Ali was joined by Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Zulfikar Mustapha; the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, the Honourable Oneidge Walrond and other government representatives.

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