Tag Archives: EatBajan

Coconut Thinktank

Are you interested in growing coconuts? Whether on a small or commercial scale there several factors which can influence how productive your coconut trees are.

At the recently conclude coconut think tank several presentations were made which covered the general agronomy, pests and diseases, post harvest handling for good water quality, an economic analysis of coconut farming profitability and the wide range of uses that all parts of the coconut can be put to.

Below you will find links to all the presentations made at the think tank.

The BSTA would like to thank the Agricultural Research and Variety Testing Unit at Groves, St. George, for allowing us use of their facility to host the think tank.







Coconut Water Quality




The Wonderful World of Coconut Products


EAT BAJAN DAY by Basil Springer

Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom.”Proverbs 4:7

Once again, I join my fellow Trustees of the Graham Gooding Trust Fund in commemorating  the late E.G.B. Gooding (1915-1987) who was born in Britain of Barbadian parents and was educated at Harrison College and Cambridge University. He was a botanist, agriculturalist, food technologist and environmentalist and I was fortunate to have interacted with him and benefited from his wisdom on many occasions on my return to Barbados in 1974. He researched and published extensively on the ecology and flora of Barbados.

He was an innovative thinker and made many an important contribution in the areas of food production, sugar cane diversification and agri-business. He worked unstintingly for conservation of the island’s natural heritage through the Barbados National Trust and the Government’s Town and Country Planning Advisory Committee.

The Graham Gooding Trust Fund gives an annual Graham Gooding Biology prize at the University of the West Indies in Barbados and initiated the concept of “Eat Bajan Day” as an activity that builds on his legacy. This year Eat Bajan Day will be observed on Friday, October 9.

People are our most important resource and have to be fed. Eat Bajan Day sensitizes us about the importance of local agriculture and fisheries to our health and wealth and to the planet’s future. The Trustees are encouraging all to try to use only local food and beverage  for  meals on Eat Bajan Day. But why stop there? We should continue throughout the year.

Locally grown agricultural produce is more easily quality controlled and gets from farm to table in a much shorter time than imported produce. Many locally grown products reach the consumer at a cheaper price than imported products and selected products provide our full complement of nutrients.

Agriculture is a science which guides farmers as they cultivate the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, both fresh and processed, and other products for local, tourist and global consumption. In the process, the massive agricultural import bill can be reduced and a contribution made to net foreign exchange earnings.

As the local agricultural industry expands, we can benefit from economies of scale. There is the potential to increase quality and productivity and decrease unit price leading to greater competiveness.   Incidentally, I pose the hypothesis that praedial larceny will disappear with registration of vendors and farmers, the policing of the trade and reduction of unit price due to the expanded industry making it no longer a viable proposition for larcenists.

What are the results of our attempts at a comprehensive coordinated programme for agricultural development in Barbados?  No change,  primarily because of the high risks involved.

These risks are associated with the following:

(1) Corporate Governance – little or no focus on leadership and management to structure the foundation of the business; failure to observe legal and environmental laws reflecting society’s priorities or industry mandates; and a deleterious impact on the natural resource base.

(2) Finance – little or no focus on credit rating; and low equity input by the entrepreneur in the business.

(3) Marketing – little or no focus on cusumer satisfaction; no proactive aggressive market-led sales and distribution strategy; unrealistic sales projections especially for start-ups, re-births, spin-offs and scale-ups; and unpredictable prices and markets.

(4) Operations risk – little or no focus on profitability; use of low technology; variations in output due to weather, pests, disease and value chain logistics/timing; praedial larceny; lack of crop insurance; outdated ICT and administrative systems; and weak net cash flows.

(5) People – little or no focus on productivity; poor time management practice;  the lack of passion, perseverance and patience in the entrepreneur; and selection, training and motivation issues centered around family members and employees.

In order to state and pursue a policy of sustainable economic growth, the first order of business is to get the governance right. There has to be a clear understanding of the difference between leadership and management. Leadership is about doing the right things and management is about doing things right. Leadership is about vision and management is about action.

According to Forbes Magazine (March 23, 2014): “Today’s market environment places a premium on speed, flexibility and the ability to lead in uncertain situations. At the same time, the flattening of organizations has created an explosion in demand for leadership skills at every level.”

In developing an economy, wise leaders in government and the private sector have important roles to play. The relative roles of the government and the private sector have to be clearly delineated.

The role of the government should be to lead change by stating the policy for agricultural growth and supporting such policy by providing a dynamic enabling environment within which the role of the private sector should be to manage strategy and drive business growth.

On the subject of Eat Bajan Day, I would like to take this opportunity to remember my own mother, Rita Springer SCM, who passed away in January 2013 at the age of 98. She too was an advocate for eating local and indeed was the author of “Caribbean Cookbook”, first published in 1968. Her cookbook was re-launched in 2008, enhanced with photographs of the dishes under the name “Caribbean Cookbook  – A Lifetime of Recipes”.

You are invited to support the Trust’s fundraising fruit tree sale hosted by Carter’s General Store at Wildey on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10.

May our agricultural leaders open their hearts to receive divine wisdom and act on it so that the people of this nation and our region can receive many more blessings all the days of our lives.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET. His columns may be found at www.cbetmodel.org and www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com.)

Eat Bajan by Frances Chandler

Who would’ve thought  that Trinidad, with all its oil and gas resources would ever be in trouble with foreign exchange? But it seems they put all their eggs in the fossil fuel basket and now oil prices have fallen, they’re in trouble.

It’s been said that Barbados has a much more diverse economy than Trinidad. But for how long? We seem to be continually downplaying most sectors and  putting our eggs in the tourism basket, instead of moving all our sectors forward together.

Agriculture has certainly suffered at the feet of tourism when the two sectors should be partners in culinary tourism to keep more tourism dollars in Barbados. More  players need to “put their money where their mouth is” and support local food.  And of course farmers have to understand  they must satisfy their customers’ demands. But sometimes these demands are somewhat unreasonable and  always end with “at a reasonable price”. But how can you produce at a reasonable price unless your inputs are also at a reasonable price and your labour is productive?

Then there’s  competition from imports. We seem to have signed every agreement possible in favour of other countries’ agriculture. Apparently, under these agreements, we can’t protect our own agriculture and we have to be competitive. How come big countries like Canada can protect their agriculture? I’m sure they’ve signed on to these agreements too. But they’re proud to say their produce is homegrown. And if there’s a hint of any negative change in regulations, their farmers don’t” take it sitting down”.

I was really impressed that our Prime Minister considered agriculture important enough to raise it at the recent Heads of Government  Conference. Using his usual oratorical skills, he noted that “as leaders for the time being of our respective countries we must accept the solemn responsibility which devolves on our shoulders to raise the gaze of our people to new and hitherto unimagined regional horizons.

Nowhere is this more necessary than in the area of food security.  For how much longer are we going to repeat that between the lands of Guyana, of Belize and now also of Suriname, we have the veritable breadbasket of the Caribbean? 

Has the time not come, is the hour not upon us when we must, in a structured manner mobilize the idle hands in our region around the idle lands in our region and deal systematically with the food security issues we have been facing.  If our palates are being held on mortgage by producers of food outside of this region, are we still justified in thinking ourselves genuinely independent?”

My let down was that Barbados didn’t get a mention. We’re small, but we have idle lands and no shortage of idle hands so can contribute significantly to our own food security if the issues raised earlier are addressed at a high level.

The Prime Minister also noted that “At the best of times our countries have been fiscally fragile and this crisis has  rather cruelly exposed how vulnerable we are to exogenous shocks.” One of these shocks looming large is world shortage of food , especially in view of the worsening water  situation in California (a major supplier of vegetables and fruit to the Caribbean) and the use of corn in producing ethanol, rather than food. We must  prepare ourselves.

Someone commented  recently  “No-one can convince me that it is cheaper to bring in a foreign made refrigerated alternative across 6,000 or more miles by road and ship and for the wholesale distributors to always disperse them within the stated sell by date. There has to be waste and spoilage.” It’s quite evident  there’s waste and spoilage which translates into a waste of foreign exchange. So we have to support the development of  local agro-industries.

Recently, we’ve seen  a fledgling  cheese industry, but it needs support from government and consumers. We can’t have all types of imported cheese entering Barbados free of duty.

In short, we must all get on board if we’re to become more self sustainable. To this end, the Graham Gooding Trust is hosting its annual “Eat Bajan Day” on October 09. The Massy Group of stores  is again collaborating by offering an “All Bajan” menu in their delis and Carters General Stores is hosting a sale of fruit trees on Friday 09 and Saturday 10 October. Let’s all support the effort.


Dr. Frances Chandler is a former independent senator  E mail: fchandler @caribsurf.com