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NDP will not abandon agriculture – Ferdinand

NDP will not abandon agriculture – Ferdinand

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The only way out of the “financial mess” that St Vincent and the Grenadines has found itself in is through the rehabilitation of the agricultural industry.

So says Dr Julian Ferdinand, New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for West St George, which he shared while addressing a political meeting last Saturday.{{more}}

“Agriculture is where you will find a lot of the jobs; agriculture will take us significantly higher up out of the financial mess we are in…. How is it possible that a country as small as this, 18 miles long…with a population of just over 110 000, how could we be in debt to the tune of 1.5 billion and counting.”

Ferdinand also told supporters, who journeyed to Belmont despite the heavy showers, that St Vincent and the Grenadines has some of the most fertile lands in the region and once we utilize these fertile lands, we would be able to turn the economy around.

He indicated to the audience that these lands are mostly being worked by women to feed their children and families and abandoning agriculture would be abandoning these women.

“If you check the record, you will discover that agriculture is especially important to our women- folk; our women become in so many ways the backbone of agriculture; if we abandon agriculture, we automatically abandon a significant part of our womenfolk and we must not and we will not abandon our agriculture.”

Ferdinand disclosed that while making his rounds through West St George, it encourages him when he sees older persons who are still farming, working the lands and not waiting on ‘poor relief,’ but instead have kept their dignity and are willing to work to earn their living.

He said under an NDP government, people would be challenged to look at agriculture differently.

“As parents we must never discourage our children from pursuing studies in agriculture; we must encourage the brightest and our best.”

Ferdinand, a former teacher of agricultural science, also called for an integration of information technology (IT) and agriculture, as IT can be used to improve poultry production, pig production and as is the case in countries like Chile, it can be used to forecast the demand for agricultural products.

The NDP first-time candidate also said that his party will ensure that there is an agricultural programme in every school across St Vincent and the Grenadines. He, however, believes that none of these programmes will be able to function effectively without co-operatives and a change of the mindset of Vincentians.

“We encourage cooperative effort; we encourage our people to look at the probability of joining together. When we work together, we are stronger as a people,” Ferdinand stated.

Noel Dickson and Curtis Bowman, NDP candidates for South Windward and Marriaqua respectively, also gave addresses at the meeting, which had to be cut short because of the inclement weather. (CM)

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