February 25, 2014
National Land Bank Programme being revitalized – Caesar

In addition to applying for loans from the six million dollar farmer credit programme, Vincentian farmers can also apply for support from a labour programme.{{more}}

As of Friday, the Ministry of Agriculture has made application forms available for farmers to apply for farm labour.

During a press conference last week, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar told media personnel that the Ministry wants to ensure that the farmer support programme is properly structured, properly managed and properly implemented.

“It is only obvious that with the six million dollars being made available on credit to the farmers that there will be an increase in the demand for farm labourers,” he said.

Caesar stated that anyone interested in benefitting from the programme can collect a form from their extension officer or extension office.

“These forms will be filled out in the same way that the forms for the credit facility were completed and they will be returned to the extension officer who would pass these forms on to the (Farmer Support) Company,” the Minister explained.

Furthermore, he stated that the Ministry hopes to ensure that all the other factors of production are in place.

Another initiative under the six million dollar farmer support programme is to make more lands available for cultivation.

Through the Farmers Support Company, a series of consultations is expected to be held with farmers, in an effort to bring more acreage in St Vincent and the Grenadines under production.

Caesar made the announcement that the National Land Bank Programme was being revitalized.

“This definitely will complete the process where we will make the capital or monies available for farmers to farm,” Caesar said.

The Minister said he expected there would be an increase in the demand for land as new farmers attempt to enter the agricultural sector.

“The availability of land is such that it is one of those factors for production that is not increased at the possible rate that labour can increase or even capital can increase. There are many acres of land in St Vincent and the Grenadines which are not currently being farmed,” he said.

Caesar also noted that public servants, who are also farmers, will be able to access these funds.

“I know that the question has been raised as to whether or not persons who are employees of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, whether or not they can access these loans. The answer is yes,” he said.

The Minister stated that the Farmer Support Company will be a “veritable one stop shop” for farmers, as it relates to issues of labour and the availablity of land. (BK)