Barbados is the seventh largest market in the Caribbean for U.S. agricultural and related products. According to U.S. trade statistics, in 2019, the United States exported $107.6 million worth of agricultural and related products to Barbados. As in most Caribbean islands, domestic agricultural output and food processing is limited. Barbados relies on imports of a wide range of food products to meet the needs of its population.
About 50 percent of Barbados’ imports of the consumer-oriented agricultural products come from the United States. The top five U.S. exports in this category are prepared foods, dairy products, beef, and beef products, non-alcoholic beverages, and eggs and egg products. COVID-19 and resulting decline in tourist arrivals have severely impacted the hotel and restaurant sectors. Some hotel and villa properties are being used as quarantine facilities and this has allowed for gradual re-opening of the sector at the end of 2020. However, a nation-wide shutdown in February 2021 and subsequent nightly curfews have put a damper on the sector. The sector is expected to rebound in 2021-2022, with some recovery anticipated during the winter peak season (November 2021 to April 2022. Cruise tourism, which was a significant revenue source for Barbados, will take longer to recover. Wholesale distributors and supermarket chains continue to look for new and affordable products to introduce to the market.
Most food products, especially specialty food products, cheeses, specialty vegetables and red meats, remain in demand.
Barbados relies heavily on food imports. The government remains committed to previously announced plans to expand the tourism sector. The decline in tourism has been partially offset by the success of the Welcome Stamp visa program, which allows eligible applicants to telework from Barbados for up to 12 months.
Jonelle M. Watson
U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
International Trade Specialist
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Foreign Agricultural Service
Caribbean Basin Agricultural Trade Office (CBATO)
909 SE 1st Avenue, Suite 720
Miami, FL 33131
Barbados Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security