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Barbados: MORE JOBS NEEDED IN AGRICULTURE TO REDUCE RELIANCE ON IMPORTED FOOD

THE region’s over-reliance on imported food is something that
Caribbean countries must work to reduce, by creating more jobs in the
agricultural sector.

Wayne Chen, President of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation and a
member of the CARICOM Human Resource Development Commis-sion,
suggested the above as he spoke on the topic, “Jobs, Work and
Opportunities in the post-COVID Caribbean”, during the CARICOM Girls
in ICT Partnership 2nd Digital Dialogue, which was held virtually
yesterday.

“One of the things that has been highlighted during the pandemic, is
our reliance on imported food and we got a taste of the disruption of
the global supply networks and what would happen in the future if they
were further disrupted, based on our over-reliance on imported food.
So one of the areas I will touch on today as we discuss jobs in the
future, is jobs in agriculture. I know the agricultural capacity
varies remarkably from country to country, island to island, but this
is where a regional approach will become very, very important, where
countries with high agricultural potential should be looking at
maximizing that potential and where countries that might think they
have little potential, look at others to build this sector,” Chen
commented.

He added, “The world’s second-largest exporter of food is The Netherlands, which isa relatively small European country, with fewer than 20 million people. It’s a high income country. The cost of living is extremely high, it is highly regulated. So I raised that to squash the notion that agriculture has to be a lot of menial, low-wage labour.

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