SVG, ROC on Taiwan sign agriculture agreement
August 14, 2015
SVG, ROC on Taiwan sign agriculture agreement

The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and the Republic of China on Taiwan on Friday, August 7 signed an agreement to improve fruit and vegetable production in SVG.

The agreement, which was signed by prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and ambassador Baushaun Ger at the Cabinet Room, will enable the commencement of a four-year project entitled: {{more}}“Strengthening of Farmers’ organizations and Improving Fruit and vegetable Production Technology in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The objectives of the project are: strengthening of Agriculture Service Units; building capacity of Ministry of Agriculture counterparts; establishment of production standards for the crops selected for the project; to provide training programmes for fruits and vegetable farmers; improve management systems at fruit and vegetable farmers’ organizations; and training of executives of farmers’ organizations to develop the mechanisms for the operation of co-operatives.

Expected results from the four-year project include: an increase in farmers’ income from sales of fruits and vegetables; upgrading the soil lab and soil testing capability; and the training of at least six cooperatives in management of cooperatives, with the aim of building the internal management capacity of the organizations through the establishment of administration and information management systems.

Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said it is the quest of the Ministry of Agriculture to build a competitive agriculture sector in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“It is very important and paramount that we produce more and have a carefully planned, structured and conceived programme, not only to increase production, but to ensure that we market importantly what we produce. And from these figures it is showing that right on our doorsteps, we have markets for approximately US$1 billion worth of goods.

“This is transformative for a small island such as St Vincent and the Grenadines, because what this means is that once we have the requisite structures in place, we can be able to carve out a larger market share, regionally…” Caesar said.

The Ambassador said it was a great honour to sign the agreement. He explained that both countries signed the first Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation in 1982, just after the establishment diplomatic relations between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of China on Taiwan.

“Since then, we have renewed the agreement periodically so as to update, enhance and deepen our cooperation in the field of agriculture,” the Ambassador further explained.

“The new agreement we have signed will focus on the aims of strengthening farmers’ organizations, improving farming technology on certain fruits and vegetables.

“It is agreed that when the selected agricultural cooperatives are empowered with the necessary management skills and production technology, the farmers involved will go and market their production in a very efficient and competitive way,” Ambassador Ger said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the signing of the agreement “is an important one” that is in tradition of agreements with Taiwan, but different because of its specificities.

“I’ve read the project document and as I understand the agreement, it’s to lift capacity, knowledge, organizational skills, to help with the production of a number of commodities….

“I believe that this programme will help us to improve the technical quality of agriculture that will improve our production and help us with our marketing,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.

This new project is expected to compliment the EU-BAM programme and further enhance the modernization of the agricultural sector.