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More aid to boost SVG’s agriculture

More aid to boost SVG’s  agriculture

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The Ministry of Agriculture has been the beneficiary of many timely donations, as this country’s agricultural sector continues to cope with recent weather damage and rising food prices.{{more}}

News of assistance came from Minister of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries Montgomery Daniel, at a press conference hosted at his Ministry, last Thursday, August 4. Flanked by Chief Agricultural Officer Reuben Robertson, Daniel outlined to the media present three groups in particular which contributed substantially.

He highlighted the “tremendous” contributions made by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

They, he stated, have contributed some US $200,000 to small scale farmers, as Emergency Rehabilitation Assistance. This money will be used, he said, to assist farmers with the purchase of seeds, fertilizer and plastic film to be used as mulches and small irrigation systems for vegetable production.

In addition to this donation, the FAO also contributed some EC $67,500 worth of fertilizer for vegetable and root crop farmers, along with EC$143,990 to make 1,694 sacks of fertilizer available to banana and plantain farmers. The Agricultural Warehouse also received a sum of

EC$ 57,000 from the same organization, toward the supply of assorted vegetable seeds as an emergency support to crop production.

As part of the rehabilitation project of the WINFRESH shed used by traffickers and Plant Quarantine of the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO also made available EC$160,000. Daniel noted that this was vital, as they wanted to ensure that standards at the shed are met so that their traffickers would be off the street and in a “more pleasing” environment.

The upgraded facility will accommodate 3 offices and a kitchenette and work was expected to start by Friday, August 5, 2011 and be completed by September 7 of this year.

More contributions were garnered from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDEMA), facilitated by NEMO, to the tune of US$67,920. The funds which ultimately came from the Brazilian Government Disaster Support Program will be made available to 50 farmers, with each of them receiving US$500 to help them rehabilitate their farms, damaged in the freak storm which occurred on April 11, 2011. Another US$46,500 is also allocated from the same source toward the purchase of fertilizer for some 300 vulnerable farmers.

Finally, the Minister detailed that the Mustique Charitable Trust, in support of the Agricultural Rehabilitation Program, donated EC$72,500.

Daniel highlighted that of this money, $57,500 will be used to distribute seeds to schools and backyard gardeners. Approving of this step, Daniel stated that “schools should be involved as we reorganize the sector” and went onto say that “backyard gardeners should also benefit”.

The remaining $15,000 will be used to fund the construction of one greenhouse at the SVG Community College Technical and Vocational Division.

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