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Letter: Is agriculture dead? Only in SVG!
Published on February 25, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

I live in a state where the tourism and service industries are much larger that St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). However, no one in the state governor’s administration would ever proclaim that agriculture is dead and a thing of the past.

Similarly, the state of Hawaii has a much larger tourism and service industry than we do in SVG. You will not hear coming from the state of Hawaii that agriculture is dead and a thing of the past. Macadamia nuts, pineapples, coffee, taro (eddoes) and many more crops are not dead, nor are they a thing of the past.

In small island states, agriculture and tourism must go hand in hand, feed your nation/state and the tourist. With a vibrant agricultural economy, a country can export more which brings in needed foreign exchange thereby reducing the importation of goods/produces you can grow. Sir James had it right back in the 70s, “Back to the land,” where agriculture was the cornerstone of SVG’s economy!

In 2012, my state’s agricultural production reached a record high of almost $10 billion. The food and agriculture industry is about $49 billion, and more than $16 billion of food and agricultural products were exported. No one dares to say agriculture is dead and a thing of the past here because it only contributes 13% of the state’s economy or employs only 160,000 people.

In the state of Florida, when citrus greening disease attacked the orange groves, the state government and orange industry did not sit around. They began looking for a cure or ways to control the disease. In SVG the government knows the solution to the banana diseases; it’s called spraying the banana fields on a regular and consistent basis.

But here in SVG these guys systematically (some may say willfully) destroyed the agriculture industry, and then they keep coming up with ridiculous excuses for their failure. What good is cut back and plant back, if your spraying is woefully inadequate? How are you going to keep the banana diseases at bay?

What’s this I am hearing that the minister of agriculture who was pushing cut back and plant back is now pushing arrowroot instead? By any chance does he have arrowroot planted in the ground?

Now with general elections on the horizon, they are trying to butter the farmers’ hands with $6 million for agriculture. After they have destroyed the agriculture industry, do they really believe that $6 million will fix it? In today’s world not even that amount of $6 million can fix “Steve Austin”!

Peace and justice and get real.

Lenford O’Garro
Reads: 8485

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