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First batch of farmers receive credit support

First batch of farmers receive credit support


The first batch of farmers to receive assistance through the $6 million credit support programme say that they are grateful for the aid.{{more}}

On Friday last week, close to 50 farmers were expected to collect vouchers from the Farmers Support Company Limited that was set up to disburse loans to the farmers, at a two per cent interest rate.

The farmers received vouchers at various values that enabled them to collect supplies at the Agricultural Input Warehouse, where the presentations took place.

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, Charlene Garrick, manager of the Farmers Support Company Limited, as well as other agriculture and farming officials were on hand to witness what was considered an historic event.

The first farmer to sign on the dotted line and collect a voucher was banana and root crop producer Philistine Robinson, whose husband Sonny, also a farmer, told SEARCHLIGHT that they welcome the loan, and expect to see a boost in production through the programme.

“We appreciate this very much. For the longest while we have been suffering a lot with banana, and our main crop right now is banana. And I used to cut sometimes a hundred and something boxes of banana per week and I reach right now down to 20 boxes, so the finance was really difficult to come by.

“So this initiative by government helps a lot; it really brings us up to a certain standard in banana and give us some encouragement again in banana,” Robinson said.

Another farmer, Hilford Bullock, praised the endeavour, saying that if executed properly, farmers would raise their standard of living, and he urged farmers to make good use of the funds.

“It’s a good impetus into the agricultural interest; it’s a pity that it didn’t come before, but nothing happens before its time so we welcome it.

“As a professional person who would have worked in the Ministry of Agriculture who deals with farmers and also credit, I know the problems that you might have from time to time with farmers getting money and they don’t spend it on the relevant situation. I would only encourage farmers to spend the money wisely and help to refurbish their farm and bring it back up to potential, help feed the nation, make some money in the process, and help to lift their standard of living.

“We depend on agriculture still as a means of supporting the economy and the rural farming situation,” Bullock said.

Other farmers told SEARCHLIGHT that they were also grateful for the assistance from the programme and indicated that they believe that their farms would show signs of progress in a matter of months.

Under the programme, farmers would receive vouchers to redeem items needed to use on their farms, and would receive cheques to pay salaries and wages.

Future disbursements of vouchers and cheques would be done in the various communities around St Vincent and the Grenadines.