The cooperative movement had its official beginning with the enactment of the Cooperative Societies Act of 1949. At that time, there were several groups organised among small farmers interested in marketing their canes and purchasing fertilizers in bulk. In 1961, a separate Cooperatives Division was established under the Ministry of Agriculture to register, inspect, audit, educate and promote cooperative societies in Barbados.
Until 1965, the Government’s agricultural programmes were devoted almost exclusively to the challenges involved in producing and marketing sugar. The then Department of Agriculture was renamed the Ministry of Agriculture following the introduction of Ministerial Government. In 1965, the post of Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer for Research was established with responsibilities for non-sugar crops and livestock production in support of the Government’s policy to diversify agriculture.