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Arrowroot farmers get record price for 2012 crop

Arrowroot farmers get record price for 2012 crop

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Monday, July 30 was pay day for 52 arrowroot farmers from the North Windward constituency, who three weeks ago sold their produce on the United States market.{{more}}

At a presentation ceremony held at Sandy Bay Secondary School, EC$109,000 was distributed among the happy farmers.

Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, expressed satisfaction with the payments to the farmers. He explained that in recent times, because not much attention had been given to the arrowroot sector, farmers were unable to gain substantial financial benefits “for their hard work.”

He further explained that the arrowroot industry continues to play an integral role in the agricultural industry in St Vincent and the Grenadines and there is a particular cadre of farmers from the North Windward constituency who make significant livelihood from the production of arrowroot starch.

Not only did the farmers receive payment for their produce, but it was also disclosed by the Minister, that for the first time, the price for arrowroot rhizomes has reached 50 cents per pound.

“More good news for the arrowroot farmers and the sector,” Caesar added.

“Last year, the price was 35 cents per pound, but the Ministry of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Arrowroot Association, decided to give an increase of 15 cents per pound. This is to be used as an incentive for the farmers to go significantly into arrowroot production,” Caesar further noted.

According to Caesar, the Ministry, through its marketing and agro business unit, has been able to successfully negotiate with purchasers of processed arrowroot starch from the United States of America, agreed to an increase of US$1 per pound.

“Over the last year, we have been able to increase the international price received from our purchasers in the United States from US$5 per pound to US$6 per pound,” he explained.

With the “positive impact” that the arrowroot sector is now experiencing, Caesar disclosed that his ministry is going to work through a newly set up arrowroot and root crop unit to ensure the requisite extension services are given to the industry, in order to increase the production per acre from where it is now, between 10,000 and 13,000 pounds per acre to 20,000 pounds per acre.(AA)

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