SVG experiences $16 million agricultural production loss

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Drought 2020 conditions have caused a devastating loss to agricultural production here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A drought assessment report completed by the Ministry of Agriculture recorded an estimated EC$16 million production loss. This was revealed by Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Saboto Caesar during Parliament on Thursday (Aug. 13).

The overall loss was broken down into six categories:

  • Banana – $762,000
  • Plantain – $43.3 million
  • Vegetables – $6.1 million
  • Root crops – $4.4 million
  • Herbs – $243,000
  • Other commodities – $526,000

Losses by agricultural region:

  • Region 1 (Richmond – Lowmans Lwd.) recorded a loss of $3 million.
  • Region 2 (Lowmans Lwd. – Peruvian Vale (including Mesopotamia and the Grenadines) recorded a loss of $3.4 million.
  • Region 3 (Peruvian Vale to Fancy) recorded a loss of $9.9 million.

According to Minister Caesar, drought 2020 has been recorded as one of the worst droughts experienced in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the last fifty years, impacting all types of agricultural production.

“COVID-19 has caused uncertainty in farm workers time tables and interrupted trade. Farmers and traders have witnessed increased restrictions at regional and international borders and delays in the supply of inputs as a result of impacted shipping lines,” Caesar explained.

The Agricultural Minister informed that his ministry has doubled its efforts to ensure that the factors of production needed to sustain a viable sector are maintained.

The registration of framers for COVID-19/Drought 2020 Recovery Support is ongoing at thirty registration centers across St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Registration closes on Friday August 21, 2020. The Minister shared the objective of this is to capture the information in an expeditious manner.

Caesar reassured all stakeholders in the agricultural sector, agro-processors and the fisheries sector that “this government will continues to advance initiatives and programmes to mitigate both the potentially devastating consequences of climate change as experienced in drought 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.”