Caesar focuses on revitalizing the banana industry
March 2, 2012
Caesar focuses on revitalizing the banana industry

The revitalization of the banana industry is on the front burner of the Ministry of Agriculture.{{more}}

At his first press conference as Minister of Agriculture, Industry, Forestry, Fisheries, and Rural Transformation, Saboto Caesar appealed to farmers and others in the agricultural sector to continue striving for excellence in the industry that he acknowledged has gone through some rough periods, but is capable of rebounding.

“A form of encouragement I want to give to everyone within the agricultural sector is that the prospects and future of agriculture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is extremely hopeful.”

“Basically, we are at the stage where we have to grapple with all these challenges and have to rebuild an industry almost from scratch.”

“I must note that we have institutionalized significant knowledge to ensure that in the short to medium term we rebuild this industry and take this industry back to very profitable levels, and I want to ask of the banana farmers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be extremely cooperative in this effort.”

Caesar, flanked by senior officials in the ministry, as well as senior Police officers, laid out some of the plans for the agriculture sector, and how he intends to incorporate that sector with the other aspects of his ministry, and other ministries.

In his presentation, the former Minister of Tourism and Industry touched on various areas under his portfolio, including labour, food security, and marketing, and called on local consumers to play their part in the process.

“We have to ensure that in every way possible, as consumers, we seek to give assistance and support of a local market for a large percentage of what we produce.”

“I am working out, currently, the modalities of how we are going to a advance a buy local campaign….”

The Minister took the opportunity to reaffirm his dedication to his new assignment, which he said was his ‘second bite at the cherry’.

He reflected on his humble beginnings in the North Central Windward village of Diamonds, and the fact that the assistance he received in his academic life was founded on the agriculture, and in particular the banana industry. This, he said, gives him a moral commitment to assist, and ensure that the sector moves forward.

“I want the nation to know that the heart of Saboto Caesar is in agriculture.”

“I owe personally a lot to this project that I am embarking upon; not only in my capacity of the minister, but when I left Diamonds School, I received a scholarship, and at the time, the banana scholarship in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was one of the best scholarships.

“The banana farmers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines sent me to school from form one to form five… and the scholarship continued to the A Level College… that seven year period was financed purely by the banana farmers of this country.

“I must say that I think this is the opportune time to say thanks to the banana farmers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and it is in that vein I know from the bottom of my heart that I owe the banana farmers my best.”

Caesar indicated that meetings will be held with farmers around the country in the upcoming weeks, and called for al hands on deck as efforts are made to revive various areas in the industry.

“…We have to adopt the spirit of Joshua and Caleb in moving forward, because at this stage hopelessness can only breed further hopelessness…. At this stage my central focus is to rebuild and continue to build, and to ensure that we can give the vital support needed to reenergize the growth in the sector.”