November 6, 2009
SVGFTO Inc. honours stalwarts

At an awards ceremony held Saturday, October 31, 2009, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Fairtrade Initiative, held at the Methodist Church Hall in St Vincent and the Grenadines, six Fairtrade groups, as well as seven individual members and administrators, were honoured for their outstanding contribution towards the development of the organization and the Industry.{{more}}

This activity was hosted by the Farmers of SVG Fairtrade Organization Incorporated and held under the theme: “Producing Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Products”.

Among the awardees were the Chapmans, Langley Park, Richland Park, La Croix, Greiggs, and Spring Village Fairtrade Groups which have been established for the past ten years. The stalwarts such as Joycelyn Trumpet and Daphne Cato received awards as Long Serving Farmers; while Nioka Abbott Balcombe, Harvey Dick and Anton Bowman were awarded as Long Serving Board members, as well as the General Manager Ellisia Tesheira for her length of dedicated service to the Organization. WINFA’s Coordinator Renwick Rose was also honoured as the Stalwart in the Industry.

High praise was given to Rose for 20 years of service to the farming community, as well as the persistent and fierce struggle which he undertook in ensuring that the farmers were able to sell their bananas under the Fairtrade label.

SVGFTO Chairman Philemon Allen, in his welcome remarks, spoke of the current price review process undertaken by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) to ensure that farmers received a good price for their fruits and also emphasized the importance of farmers lifting their quality standards.

Senator Saboto Caesar, Junior Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, stressed his government’s continued support for Fairtrade, while the Cheif Agricultural Officer in the very Ministry, Rueben Robertson, in his address, reiterated government’s support for the Industry by reducing the price of fertilizer until mid 2010, and the supply of plant material so as to lower the cost of production. He also spoke of the tripartite approach of government with key stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the Banana Industry.

Rose expressed his appreciation for the gesture shown to him and encouraged the farmers to continue in their quest for the survival of the farmers movement in St Vincent and the Grenadines as he is about to take his exit from helm of the Organization.

Robert Snagg, Board member of the SVGFTO, gave the vote of thanks. The Ceremony was chaired by Anton Bowman.