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Minister calls on farmers to repay money owed to FSC

Minister calls on farmers to repay money owed to FSC

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The Minister of Agriculture is calling on farmers to repay outstanding monies owed to the Farmers’ Support Company (FSC).

This call was made by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation and Industry Saboto Caesar yesterday, April 18, during a press conference held at the {{more}}Ministry’s conference room.

“I am using the opportunity to encourage farmers to continue the repayment of their loans,” urged Caesar.

“Over the next 100 days, you will see the Farmers’ Support come knocking. Of course, not with a big stick, but we want to engage farmers to repay their loans.”

The Minister also noted that so far 1,500 farmers have benefitted from loans given by the FSC.

He also disclosed that the greatest area of delinquency is made by root crop farmers, since, unlike arrowroot and banana farmers, the FSC depends on the trust of the farmers only.

“We did not engage in an agreement with the traffickers to pay a certain percentage. So, many of the root crop farmers sometimes do not make the journey up to the Ministry or to the bank to make the payment,” Caesar stated.

The press conference was held as part of talks to highlight the Ministry’s 20-point 100-day plan, which, according to the Minister, is creative and strategic and will be used to develop the agricultural sector.

As part of the plan, Caesar pointed out that his Ministry would be looking to further inject monies into the FSC.

“The Farmers’ Support Company has brought significant benefits to the farmers of St Vincent and the Grenadines…

“Over the past two years, we have seen a significant increase in certain commodity areas, for example in root crops, and also a significant expansion in arrowroot production; and we can attribute these to loans which farmers would have received through the Farmers’ Support Company,” he added.

The Minister noted that they will be looking to hand out special envelopes for bananas, livestock, fish, expansion, youth in agriculture and also agro processing.

“A lot of work is going to be done in 2016 in the next 100 days to address the issue of the management in the Farmers’ Support Company,” the Minister noted.

He added that in order for the Ministry to ensure that they are “on the ball” as a service provider, they also need to make sure that the Farmers’ Support Company sticks to its mandate to be ‘farmer friendly’.

Caesar indicated: “We are going to pay significant attention on our recovery efforts over the next 100 days, because the Farmers’ Support Company has been capitalized with some EC$12 million.” (CM)

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