Barbadians are being urged to spend their money on items produced at home.
This advice comes as the country’s cost of living and import bill remain high.
Minister of Industry Davidson Ishmael, in an interview with The Nation, is encouraging “all Barbadians this year to ensure they put Barbadian businesses first” as they begin preparations to celebrate the festive season, no matter their religion.
“As they seek to purchase their goods and services for this festive time of the year I [urge them to] consider very strongly supporting our local entrepreneurs, our micro, small and medium enterprises because those are the ones that employ our people, those are the ones that earn us the foreign exchange that we so desperately need as a country as well.
“Everyone needs to support as many local businesses as they possibly can, as many of our entrepreneurs, as many of our micro small and medium enterprises as they possibly can during this time of the year,” said the minister who is also responsible for the portfolios of Innovation, Science and Technology.
Ishmael, who lauded Barbados’ fashion designers after a recent showing of some collections, said he wanted people to also note that “every dollar spent with a local enterprise is a dollar that is earned by the people of Barbados, and is a dollar therefore, that can go to making the lives of our people better”.
“We have all sorts of goods on our shelves, foreign and otherwise, but I would want persons to give good consideration to the fact that when we support our local enterprises, we’re supporting ourselves ultimately in the long run. That is my encouragement to Barbadians this season,” he added.
And with food being a big part of the Christmas season, Frederick Inniss, chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) said as far as production goes, “the focus for the remainder of this year” is on their chicken burger and “the pork and beef hams from local animals”.
“Our focus is on helping local farmers and doing value added using local inputs. Our flours, our value-added meats, are based on formulations with local inputs. We are in that production phase at the moment with the target basically to try to cater to the Christmas demand,” he said.
The hams are currently available in their two Carmeta’s stores and the aim is to also make them available through “some of the larger retailers as well over the course of November and into December” Inniss stated.
Meanwhile, Ishmael reaffirmed Government’s commitment to providing the necessary support which would allow Barbadian creatives, producers, and fashion designers “to grow and develop and really make not only an impact for themselves, but a great impact to our overall economy”.
The minister, who noted, “the world is waiting for us to show up, and to show off”, said he believes “that our people are just as creative, just as innovative, just as productive, just as effective as any other person on this earth” and “there is really no limitation”.
“So, we will facilitate. We will support. We will seek to expand the markets. We will seek to open markets to our fashion designers and to our local creatives to give them a broader field on which they can play, a broader field on which they can produce, a broader field on which they can be productive, and they can make successes of themselves, and of course, by extension, our country,” he asserted
The Minister gave “a big kudos to the Barbados Manufacturers Association for their continued support of our manufacturers and the industry by extension” and said he was looking forward “to even bigger and greater things as we work with them”. (GBM)