Fri 31st Aug 2012

SVG farmers deprived of $207 million

After 12 years in office of the highly incompetent ULP regime, the agricultural sector is in total misery. The ULP regime has decimated agriculture and virtually killed the rural economy. Many of our farmers live in poverty and struggle to feed their families.

To add insult to injury, food imports in to SVG topped the $200 million mark for the first time in 2011. Research by SVG Green Party has revealed that 63,496,720 kgs Net weight of food was imported last year totalling $207 million dollars.

SVG farmers are being deprived of $207million. This $207 million should be going in their pockets. The fact that this money is going abroad means jobs are being created abroad at the expense of our farmers. Why is the ULP regime so keen to run an economy that impoverishes our farmers and people in rural communities, whilst simultaneously creating jobs abroad?

This approach to economics is making our people suffer and making food expensive.

Not content with the misery caused so far, the ULP regime intend to offer farmers cocoa. In cocoa farming, farmers earn about EC$4 a day, have to wait up to 5 years for a harvest and they and their families are exposed to numerous toxic chemical fertilisers, as cocoa suffers from many diseases such as black pod.

Monocrops are not the answer, banana has shown this. Cocoa is not a lifeline to farmers, but a death knoll to their chances of prosperity.

Economic structural changes are needed for our long-term development. Going green is the solution to create a boost in economic growth and sustainability. SVG needs new products, new markets and surplus revenue.

A Green government will modernise agriculture and reverse this dangerous trend of hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on food from abroad. The plight of our farmers must not be ignored. Our economy and society should be rejuvenated so that we are virtually self-sufficient in food production and our farmers are once again prosperous.

Buying food from our own farmers will also make food cheaper. SVG can only reduce food prices by eating what we grow and growing what we eat. If it comes from abroad, we will not be able to control food prices and food will become even more expensive.

A Green government will revive the rural economy. There are plenty of alternatives, including organic farming; building factories to produce and export tea, baby food and fruit juices; building a fish canning and exporting industry; and exporting other agro-products to the diaspora in Europe, Canada and the USA.

These measures will provide thousands of new jobs.

We need a greater equilibrium of wealth in our society and to reduce the gap between the rich and poor. The foreign influence of buying so much food from abroad has many long term negative implications.

SVG's economy and agriculture is in utter shambles under the incompetent Gonsalves; change is desperately needed. Let's us move forward and aim to steer $207 million towards our farmers.

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