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US$10,000 donated to replant trees destroyed by December storm

US$10,000 donated to replant trees destroyed by December storm

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Very soon, a larger than usual number of fruit trees should be blooming all across St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Mustique Charitable Trust (MCT), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), launched an EC$26,000 tree planting project on Tuesday, as part of their efforts to combat the adverse effects of the December 2013 floods.{{more}}

While speaking at the ceremony, administrator of MCT Lavinia Gunn revealed that donors from Mustique responded extremely generously to the request of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves for assistance after the storm.

“One of our many donors, he requested that his donation of US$10,000 or EC$26,000 would be spent on the replanting of trees,” Gunn explained.

“The Mustique Charitable Trust is committed to provide assistance where it can. The trustees and the donor hope that this tree planting project will provide meaningful assistance to the communities affected and also to assist the people most impacted by the floods, particularly the children in the communities who will benefit from this project in years to come.”

The administrator expressed awareness that the project is not a “quick fix,” but rather an initiative to promote a healthy environment.

“We also hope that this will help replace some of the trees lost from December 24, 2013 and provide a measure of stabilization to ground damaged by the floods and provide sources of nutrition and income,” she said.

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar declared that despite one’s busy life, persons should always take time out to pay attention to Mother Nature.

Caesar noted that along with a number of fruit trees, moringa plants will also be distributed.

While explaining the choice of seedlings, the minister encouraged persons to eat healthily.

“We must not escape from the fact the St Vincent and the Grenadines has done extremely well in reducing hunger and undernourishment. This was recognized by the FAO two years ago and we received a very important global award,” he said.

“We are going to tie this tree planting exercise with our quest to reduce hunger further and under nourishment in St Vincent and the Grenadines and in the region and the world because we don’t consume all the food here that we produce. We export and by exporting, we are assisting with feeding not only our own but also our region and the extra-region.”

He further encouraged persons receiving seedlings to take care of them.

“We want you to take care of the plant. We don’t want them to fall by the wayside. We want you to take care of the plants because when we plant more trees, what we are actually doing is that we are improving the well-being of our citizens and we are also increasing the wealth of our country,” Caesar said.

In her remarks, principal of the RVA, Stina Herberg observed that the December trough was an indication of how climate change is affecting the world. Herberg also pointed out the importance of trees to the environment, and by extension the benefits of this tree planting project.

“Global warming is serious. I can breathe because of trees. Trees give us oxygen. Trees are so important. Trees clean the air, trees clean the soil, trees prevent soil erosion. Trees act as windbreaks and most important of all, trees can help us maintain a healthy atmosphere, because trees absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide)

from the atmosphere. So, this initiative to plant trees in St Vincent, I really, really think that it is so good and so important and I really think we should thank the Ministry of Agriculture and the Mustique trust for this initiative,” she said.

As part of the launch of the tree planting project, a number of farmers were presented with seedlings. (BK)

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