Change in agriculture landscape

ANTHONY Sobers, Director of the Barbados Pig Farmers' Co-operative Society Ltd., believes there is a new energy in the agriculture industry driven by young minds.

He told The Barbados Advocate that this field is not a last resort for many young people, and they are excited to infuse technology.

“Before it was the hoe and the fork, now we are talking about using devices and apps to do business, even security systems are set up – you can just use your smart phone etc. to monitor your farms form anywhere.

“It is now an existing industry, and it is good to see that change in the environment, because the aim is to drive the food industry which has linkages to many other sectors.

“We have a lot more chefs creating excitement by infusing local ingredients. I do think going forward we can be successful. Barbados is known for good food... we have to keep developing this sector and be open that the youth can share their ideas and new marketing methods.”

At a previous Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture, Dr. Nicolas Brathwaite, Technology Expert, Investor, and Innovator & Entrepreneur, said, “There are opportunities in agriculture for young people… this is not the traditional agriculture, but powered by Science, Technology and Innovation.”

He identified, “As the world population continues to grow and expectations of  a growing middle class increases, coupled with less availability of land for food production, agriculture represents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors . In fact, I have personally started to look to invest in opportunities for agriculture.

“Agriculture is big business. We have many complaints about our young people not getting involved in farming... the problem is why would our young people want to get involved in these 19th century practices that we still operate based on our cultural traditions. If we want young people to get involved in agriculture, we have to change the way we do agriculture...”

The Entrepreneur called for young people to revolutionise agri-business, saying, “Young people, I want you to focus on agriculture. There will be some major business by focusing on stagnant areas.

“It is an easy area to go after – Agriculture represents one of those stagnant areas. We need some of our brightest entrepreneurs to get involved in the business of agriculture. We are not asking you to do things the way everybody has been doing things from the last several hundred years, but to use science, technology and innovation to transform our farms into viable, sustainable, globally competitive, agriculture businesses. We need government policies to help them and encourage their love of technology and entrepreneurial drive in creating agri-related businesses.

“Entrepreneurs don’t just continue to overcrowd a market; in the Caribbean we tend to have a copycat mentality – that is not entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship creates new services and significantly improves the current products and services that we offer.” (NB)

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