Agricultural exports from SVG continue amidst COVID 19 fears
EXPORTS OF agricultural goods from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have continued uninterrupted to Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands, in spite of closed borders for persons travelling between some member states of CARICOM.
Saboto Caesar, minister of agriculture of SVG has called his colleague Minister of Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago, Clarence Rambharat “a hero” for SVG and Trinidad and Tobago.
Caesar explained that over several days they connected the dots across ministries in both countries with public servants, boat agents, boat captains, traffickers, wholesalers and retailers, to ensure that food security was maintained, and that the confidence to trade agricultural goods was maintained.
The SVG WhatsApp chat group of traffickers, set up by the Ministry of Agriculture, erupted with praises to God and the Ministers of Agriculture of SVG and TNT, when news arrived that the Admiral Bay vessel, taking food from SVG had successfully offloaded in TNT.
The Captain noted that, “it was not business as usual, a lot more protocols, so we waited and then we were allowed to move the goods. No one was allowed off the boat as agreed. Not even our forklifts. The government is very tight with the rules. New rules and we will comply.”
Caesar thanked the farmers and traffickers who trusted that the new system will work and continued to ship.
“We are still operating on a week by week basis regarding our shipment, but we are going into the third week now and it has been successful.”
“COVID 19 brings fears and challenges, but the resilience of our people will endure. I am shattered yes, but I am not broken. We are the children of Joseph Chatoyer and Duvalier, and most of all we are the children of a true and living God; who will not allow us to be consumed. We will take all the precautions, but we will not allow COVID 19 to cripple us,” Caesar concluded.
SVG has exported over the last month livestock to Grenada, and root crops throughout the OECS, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Agricultural trade brings millions of dollars to the rural economy of SVG.