Investor puts millions into expanding Barbados fruit and vegetable varieties

Canadian Charles Gagnon, who has lived in Barbados for the past decade, has stated that he was eager to see Barbados growing more of the fruits and vegetables it consumes, as he thought that there was too much focus on sugarcane production over the years, with very little on food production.

“A lot of the tropical fruits and vegetables should grow well here so we should really look at replacing these imports. You kind of don’t know where they come from or how they are grown,” he said, pointing out that his farm would be using ‘as little’ chemicals as possible.

“If there is any disruption in maritime transportation or airfreight then if you don’t have at least some food autonomy then people could literally starve here. I don’t think we can go fully autonomous but to have some level of food security is important,” he explained.

Last year, Gagnon completed the purchase of the Haymans and Warleigh plantations with over 400 acres of property stretching from Bakers to parts of Black Bess, Haymans, Farm Road and The Whim, all in the parish of St Peter.

Gagnon was guarded about the total investment to be pumped into the operation to get it fully operational. However, including the purchase of the expansive property, the total investment would surpass the $10 million mark.

“We purchase the land and then we have invested in machinery for the farm. I don’t have exact figures but we have already invested a few million dollars in getting the farm going, purchasing equipment, and fixing the buildings,” said Gagnon.

Over the past several months, workers have been transforming the land, which was previously used for the growing of sugarcane under the management of the Barbados Agriculture Management Company (BAMC), but was overgrown with shrubs and at various points became an illegal dumping ground.

Gagnon told Barbados TODAY the plan was to populate the area with a variety of fruits and vegetables, explaining that while there would be some production of the more commonly grown food crops, he would be introducing others that were being imported once they were able to grow here, as well as some spices.

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