Demand for SVG agriculture exports increases amidst COVID-19 fears

  • by

SVG exports of Agriculture goods has continued uninterrupted to Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands, in spite of closed borders for persons travelling between some member states of CARICOM. 

The Minister of Agriculture of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Saboto Caesar, has called his colleague Minister of Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago, Clarence Rambharat “a hero”. He is a “Hero for SVG and TNT”, he added.

Minister Caesar explained that over several days they connected the dots across ministries in both countries with public servants, boat agents, boat captains, traffickers, wholesalers and retailers, to ensure that food security was maintained, and that the confidence to trade agricultural goods was maintained.

The SVG WhatsApp chat group of traffickers, set up by the Ministry of Agriculture, erupted with praises to God and the Ministers of Agriculture of SVG and TNT, when news arrived that the Admiral Bay vessel, taking food from SVG had successfully offloaded in TNT.

The Captain noted that, “it was not business as usual, a lot more protocols, so we waited and then we were allowed to move the goods. No one was allowed off the boat as agreed. Not even our forklifts. The government is very tight with the rules. New rules and we will comply.”

The Minister of Agriculture of SVG, thanked the farmers and traffickers who trusted that the new system will work and continue to ship. “We are still operating on a week by week basis regarding our shipment, but we are going into the third week now and it has been successful.”

“COVID 19 brings fears and challenges, but the resilience of our people will endure. I am shattered yes, but I am not broken.  We are the children of Joseph Chatoyer and Duvalier, and most of all we are the children of a true and living God; who will not allow us to be consumed. We will take all the precautions, but we will not allow COVID 19 to cripple us,” Minister Caesar concluded.

SVG has exported over the last month livestock to Grenada, and root crops throughout the OECS, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Agricultural trade is usually slighted by many, but it brings millions of dollars to the rural economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.