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Support local producers, we all stand to benefit

Support local producers, we  all stand to benefit

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Invest SVG’s Everything Vincy Expo 2019 will have its official opening ceremony this Thursday evening, just four days after the end of a very successful five-day run by AgriExpo 2019.

AgriExpo provided an excellent platform for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as private businesses to showcase the many homegrown products and services available here. Traditionally, agricultural exhibitions present opportunities to demonstrate how well we are doing with food security, import substitution, good nutrition and in terms of our exports. And from all accounts, the public was pleased with what they saw on display at the decommissioned E. T. Joshua airport site.

Many of the exhibitors who took part in AgriExpo will also participate in the Everything Vincy expo later this week, but it is expected that the Invest SVG event will be wider in scope and involve a larger cross section of the private sector.

But these two expositions come at a crucial time in the development of our nation, as we attack with seriousness and vigour, the development of our tourism industry, especially on mainland St Vincent. The expos also bring awareness to the availability of good quality local products which can replace the imported ones we use on a regular basis.

Beyond food security, import substitution and healthy eating, it is important for the sustainability of our tourism industry that firm and deep linkages be established with the productive sector, particularly the agricultural component.

The establishment of new hotels and increased hotel rooms provide increased opportunities for local goods and services to be utililzed within the hotel and tourism sector. Our grass fed livestock, fruit, vegetables, root crops, sea food, soaps, teas, candies, aromatic oils, craft, designer wear and accessories, fine art and performing arts all add value to the tourism product, keep foreign exchange at home and provide improved livelihoods for our people.

Tourism can be used to propel our productive sector forward. It provides an excellent export strategy in that the external market comes to us, instead of us having to overcome trade barriers and other hurdles to get our goods to market. Of course, consistency of supply and high quality are key.

So make some time this week to go out to the Everything Vincy Expo. When local producers are supported, their livelihoods are improved and the economy is strengthened. We all stand to benefit.

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