President of the Barbados Beef and Dairy Producers Association, Annette Beckett (third from right) presented Administrative Manager of The Hub, Cheryl Fitzpatrick-Payne with the donation from Pine Hill Dairy Milk. Looking on (from left) David King of Living Water Community; James Paul, CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS); Vice-President of the Barbados Beef and Dairy Producers Association, Brian Allan; and Stephen Layne, Board Member of the Barbados Beef and Dairy Producers Association.
Local dairy farmers are under tremendous pressure at this time, President of the Barbados Beef and Dairy Producers Association, Annette Beckett has revealed.
She explained that high water bills have been extremely taxing on the farmers, with some in the industry paying as much as $10,000 monthly.
“The water bill is extremely challenging at this time, and we are continuing to talk with the Ministry of Water Resources to see if we could get some sort of ease,” she said, pointing out “There are farmers whose water bill has gone from $2,000 to $4,000 - $5,000. There are some farmers who are paying $10,000. The smaller farmers water bill went from about $700 to about $1700. And these are increases in expenses that would not have been budgeted for, and at the same time your milk production is down.”
“However, it is not only the dairy farmers that are suffering like this, the vegetable farmers are also hit by the drought and the water rates...There must be a way that the rate they are charging agriculturists generally, cannot be the normal commercial rate and that is where the problem is. We are charged the normal commercial rate and then 100 percent on that to cover for the water and sewage tax.”
Her comments came during the presentation of Pine Hill Dairy milk to The Hub and Living Water Community, which are both organisations within the Roman Catholic Church committed to assisting persons in need.
“We didn’t let our problems deter us from helping. We recognise that there is a need out there and we thought that we would chip in and help this arm of the Roman Catholic Church,” she told reporters gathered at the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) Headquarters, yesterday.
“We understand that we are operating in some very strange circumstances now and going forward. But, the Barbados Beef and Dairy Producers Association decided that at this time we will make a contribution to an arm that is helping to ease some of the pressure and the tension among some of the persons who are most needy.”
Administrative Manager at The Hub, Cheryl Fitzpatrick-Payne expressed appreciation to the Association for the generous, timely donation.
“Our role is to help those who are in need. It may mean assisting someone who has lost their job to reorganize and look for another job; it may mean assisting someone to get labels for their products; also in this stage of the pandemic someone has indicated an interest in making masks so will help her to source the materials and equipment…There is a wide range in terms of people that we assist and the aim is to make them self-sustained.”
“Also, with the help of the Living Water Community we distribute food hampers every other week to assist with basic needs. And of course milk is very nutritious and we are very grateful for this specific contribution,” she said. (TL)