Agriculture at a Glance
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.
A Government factory at Lancaster, St. James was established to produce cassava meal and sweet potato flour in the 1940s. This helped to supplement the local livestock feed supply. Chalky Mount was home to an arrowroot factory in 1939. The quantity of roots supplied declined due to adverse weather conditions and the lack of cooperation with the Arrowroot Association led to the demise of the factory.
Wartime food production was regulated by notices served under the Vegetable Production (Defence) Control Order. These notices required plantation owners to grow 12 ½% of their arable land in root crops.
The Peasants Loan Bank was established in 1937 to raise the standard of peasant agriculture through loans. Peasant owners were considered to be persons owning 10 acres of land or less. Interest was charged at 5% per year.