“We need to have a strategic approach to agriculture” – Bernard Wyllie

The New Democratic Party’s (NDP) Candidate for Marriaqua has shared his foremost plans for agriculture in the constituency.

Bernard Wyllie, while on the WakeUpCall on Thursday August 27, 2020, spoke adamantly on building agro-processing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

“Firstly, agriculture can not exist without proper road infrastructure. Secondly, during my time, banana was a thing. But we have to face the realities of the new season, we have to diversify around these things. We have to get people involved in agriculture in such a way where we are moving, not only in such a way from the planting of agricultural produce. Food security is essential.”

Wyllie noted that many of the products that are imported by SVG can be produced right here.

“…For example, we’ll take our peanuts and send them down to Trinidad and they come back as salted nuts. We need to cut these things out. There are a lot of things that we can do with the things that we produce in St. Vincent. We need to add value,” he said.

According to Wyllie, a strategic approach needs to be taken towards agriculture. “We have to move into processing our agricultural produce and getting into secondary processes, where we can add value to what we produce.”

Wyllie, a former Minister of Agriculture, said that farmers have been beaten down within recent time, adding that they should be provided with finances to start agro-processes.

Asked how he plans to take agro-processing further in SVG, Wyllie said, “It has to be an overall strategy. We have to think in terms of marketing. How are we going to penetrate markets overseas.”

The once Minister with responsibility for Trade, CARICOM & Consumer Affairs, shared his strategy for marketing local produce overseas.

“We have to use our embassies and our consulates in other countries. We have to utilize those. We need to have a trade attached to somewhere inside there, in which they can start to look for markets for our farmers. So our diplomatic embassies alone can not be concentrating on forming “diplomatic relations”, but we have to look at how we could address our own needs here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and expand the marketing of our produce elsewhere.”