‘We must change our way of thinking’
August 19, 2005
‘We must change our way of thinking’

“If we continue to import food, we would reduce our manhood!” This was the warning sounded by Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite.

Dr. Brathwaite who headed a three member team from IICA, which made a visit to this country on Friday July 16, called on people of the Caribbean to eat more of what they produce.{{more}}

“We must change our thinking if we want to control our destiny. If everyone would eat a banana everyday, we would be helping our economy. Our children need to eat healthy and this could start if we put a banana in their lunch kits everyday.”

The dynamic speaker stressed that it was time for people to jump up and get creative. “We must look for niches in agriculture. There are big opportunities in flowers such as orchids, but it must also be seen as a business, where a plan is needed.”

The IICA Director General also called on more young people to get involved in agriculture but noted that banks and other financial institutions must cushion the business ideas of the entrepreneurs. He said that the idea that one must walk in with a deed to get a loan must be a thing of the past. “Youngsters believe that agriculture is tedious hard work in the fields, but there are different areas of agriculture like bio-diversity where persons can work on genetically modified food. If we can’t feed ourselves how are we to survive?”

He noted that agriculture is linked to every other industry such as tourism, where visitors don’t only want a taste of the culture but of the food of the country they visit. He said without food, persons in the hotel can- not be fed. He noted that in health, if a doctor or patient were undernourished they would not be able to function, hence the reason for a country to become self-sufficient.

Minister of Agriculture Girlyn Miguel welcomed the delegation and expressed appreciation for the assistance through partnership, whether monetarily or strategically.