The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries, launched its 20 Point 100 Days Plan, on Monday 18th April at the Ministry’s Conference Room. The objective of the Plan is to develop the agricultural sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation, Hon. Saboto Caesar, said that it is important that the Ministry come up with a creative and strategic plan. “This plan must not only be the voice of the Chief Agricultural Officer and it must not only reflect the intentions of the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture but it must be an all-encompassing approach taking into consideration all the factors that we face here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”, the Agricultural Minister added.
He noted that they must draft a creative plan which is current, and one that seeks to advance and promote the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, always remembering that the stakeholders, the farmers, the fisher-folk and the forest users must be considered to ensure that their livelihoods are protected.
Minister Caesar also pointed out that the 20 point 100 Days Plan was written after consultation with all stakeholders, and has taken into consideration current trends locally, regionally and internationally. “We had a lot of input from international and regional organisations and we harnessed that information, and today it is our view as a ministry, that we should pen 20 points in a 100 days, which will clearly articulate the way forward over the next 100 days,” he added.
The Minister further stated that many of the issues in the plan were articulated at the last sitting of the national budget, and documents from the Department of Economic Planning have informed a significant portion of the document. He added that many of the works done by the technicians brought to St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM), have factored all the information into the plan,. He also noted that, although the Plan has 20 points, it can be broken down into nine (9) main areas.
Some of the main areas of the plan are a vigorous national consultation with farmers, traffickers, fisher folk and forest users on issues of increasing and improving production; reform on the administrative and technical structures of the ministry; further capital injection by Petro Caribe into the Farmer’s Support Company; preparation for the cultivation of 250 acres of new banana fields in 2016; the Diversification of the Tissue Culture Lab; work with the Zero Hunger Committee to ensure that food production systems make food available and accessible.
The plan will also enhance the decentralisation of veterinary services to serve farmers at all agricultural stations, and the assignment of personnel to co-ordinate with the Diversification Officer for the increased production and exportation of cattle to Grenada and other OECS Member States, and small ruminants to Trinidad and Tobago. The plan, will follow through until Wednesday 27th July, at the end of which, a medium-term strategy will be implemented over 2½ years.