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We need to increase our food production

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Fri, Oct 28. 2011

Editor: An article in The Vincentian of Friday, October 21, 2011, titled ‘PRODUCE MORE’ urges Minister, quotes Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Montgomery Daniel as saying: “Eat what you grow and grow what you eat.”{{more}}

Ironically, this advice comes at a time when we are exploring options in the cocoa industry. An increase in cocoa production will lead to a reduction in our food security, due to less resources going to our traditional food crops. In these challenging times, we must ensure that we can directly utilise most of what we grow and extract. Even if we were to get directly involved in chocolate production, this is still somewhat of a ‘luxury food’ that will not be able to compete nutritionally with bananas and other traditional crops. We are considering cocoa production, but failed recently in ensuring efficient banana production. The resources that we intend to place into producing cocoa may be better utilised coming up with ways of increasing food production.

At the end of the day, individual farmers will have to decide which path they prefer to travel on. They will have to determine not only their own destiny, but also contribute to the destiny of this country in relation to food security. We may see the export of cocoa at relatively low prices while this country continues to face the burden of importing more of its food at increasing and fluctuating prices.

Shamal Connell

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