The Ministry of Agriculture has reported that for the first two months of 2020, there has been a 45% increase in Agri-exports from St. Vincent and the Grenadines – compared to the same period in 2019.
Agricultural Minister, Saboto Caesar said in a statement, that as of February 2020, the total agricultural produce exported, amounted to 1,473 tons, when compared with 1,011 tons during the previous corresponding period in 2019, an increase of 462 tons of regional cargo, exported from the port.
This according to the Minister – accounts for 89% of agricultural produce – as compared to 79% in 2019 for the same period.
Launched in 2015, the Agri-Export Strategy Initiative aims to boost intra-regional trade in agricultural commodities and fish products.
In his statement, the agricultural minister said St. Vincent and the Grenadines has experienced an increase in the demand for agricultural commodities – amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Farmers and fishers will soon obtain support from the Ministry of Agriculture to support production and marketing. Similarly, several member states of CARICOM have allocated resources to boost agriculture production.
Minister Caesar, who currently chairs the CARICOM Food Security Committee in response to threats to regional food security as a result of COVID-19, noted that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a golden opportunity to create an intra-CARICOM trade platform revealing the potential to feed ourselves.
In light of the anticipated downtown in Tourism as a result of COVID 19, the Minister said CARICOM member states will be in great need of the circulation of wealth to be created from the production and trade in Agriculture and Fisheries
He is advising persons that have been nominated in each CARICOM Member State to provide information on national production platforms and potential intra-regional Agri-exports and imports.
A paper will be finalized and presented next week outlining the modalities that will facilitate the process.