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‘Produce Commodity Bill a serious setback’

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The Eastern Caribbean Trading Agriculture and Development Organisation (ECTAD) has expressed great concern and disappointment at what they say is the hasty passing of the “Produce and Commodity Bill, 2006”.

A release from the organization states “After serious analysis of this Bill, ECTAD believe this Bill will have serious negative repercussion for the development of the Agriculture and Food Sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”{{more}}

The organization, which is a registered non-profit group focusing on farmers’ training and rural and agricultural development, is of the opinion that the Act “gives the Minister of Agriculture with Cabinet sanction dictatorial authority to determine who and what can be exported and imported into the country, and further who should be appointed to export and import.” They contend that the Act opens the door for partisan political favoritism in export and import of goods.

According to Jethro Greene, Chairman of ECTAD, the haste in which the Act was passed without consultation with the Agricultural and wider Private Sector business community indicates “No good intention” towards real private sector and farmers’ participation in the Agricultural and Food Sector Development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The release states that ECTAD supports an Act which respects “private participation and involvement.” The group has extended an offer to work with Government and the Opposition and the General Private Sector to amend the Act “in the interest of the farmers and general population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

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