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Rastafarians get involved in South Central Windward poultry project

Rastafarians get involved in South Central Windward poultry project

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Traditionally, members of the Rastafarian faith do not associate themselves with the consumption of meat or even the rearing of animals.{{more}}

However, the members of Greiggs Rastafarian Progressive Society have stepped slightly outside the bounds of their beliefs and are among farmers who are seizing the opportunities offered by South Central Windward poultry project.

Carlton Thomas, one of the members of the Society, is presently rearing fifty chicks.

On Monday, during the official launch of the project, Thomas told SEARCHLIGHT “The project is a great idea because it helps farmers to find alternative ways outside of banana which is not in the best shape right now.”

He explained that he and his fellow Rastafarian brethren made the decision to participate in the project following a visit to one of their meetings by area representative and the brains behind the poultry project, Saboto Caesar.

“I used to plant banana, dasheens and other ground provisions… Anyway, when he (Caesar) came to one of our meetings, he discussed it with us and you know man don’t deal with meat and dem things, but we look at it as a business venture and we go along with him still,” Thomas added.

Other farmers, including Godwin Cabral of Diamonds Village and Daphne Fergus of Lauders, expressed appreciation towards the venture and pledged their commitment to making it a success.

“It’s a good thing for us farmers in their area. All we the farmers have to do is build the pens and take care of the chickens and as he say, be serious about it and consider it a business,” Fergus said.

Meanwhile, speaking at Monday’s launch, held at the Diamond Learning Resource Centre, Caesar reminded farmers that they will be provided with 100% financing for the fixed costs for one production cycle of poultry.

Farmers will provide 75% of the cost of construction for the pens using local materials on the advice of the Ministry of Agriculture and 100% of the labour. Reinvestment of a significant portion of the profits of the first production cycle will be deducted to be placed back into the project, which will assist in making this a self-sustaining project.

He further noted that fifty percent of the total sales will be used to invest in the purchasing of birds and feeds for the next cycle. The balance of the income from sales will be used to pay farmers, who will be advised to use the money to cover their utility bills – electricity and water.

“This approach addresses the main project goal: to alleviate poverty in a sustainable way,” according to Caesar.

“There are many farmers in St Vincent and the Grenadines who can lift their game and ensure that St Vincent and the Grenadines becomes more sustainable in many commodities, including this poultry project,” the Minister said.

A total of 100 farmers are expected to benefit from the project, which will assist in the development of 100 viable small-scale broiler units of 50, 75 or 100 chicks each; enhance knowledge and capacities among farmer participants in poultry production; and promote greater economic security for the 100 farmers participating.

This will be achieved by supporting the farmers from initial steps of purchasing and raising of the broilers through marketing the locally grown, high-quality chicken meat to various markets, including tourism hotels and resorts, Caesar said.(AA)

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