The Barbados government on Monday appealed to supermarkets and hotels to give more support to the local agricultural sector, but said it not advocating a ban on goods imported from other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries.
Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Minister, Donville Inniss, speaking at the launch of a food-manufacturing plant, said Barbados was not earning enough to support its high BDS$700 million food-import bill.
"We have a tendency in this country to believe that whatever is foreign is good and this mindset really has to change," Inniss said, adding that local supermarkets "need to start displaying Barbadian products prominently".
He said there was a strong linkage between the ownership of some of these facilities and "where the goods that are more prominently displayed are coming from".
"I'm not saying to stop anything coming from Trinidad or Jamaica or wherever, as Barbadians must have choices, but if you have a local product that is of good quality, of good price competitively, why must that product be buried in the back of a supermarket shelf?" he asked.
SENSE OF PRIDE
"We have to have a sense of pride in this country that tells us that things that are Barbadian must be given the necessary level of prominence, and I do not think this is anything we need to apologise for. I'm not saying do not bring things from abroad. I am just saying let the playing field be level," he added.
Inniss said that another way of supporting local produce was for the local hotel sector to "stop begging for handouts and asking for concessions and start doing more to help the local industry".