Agriculture Minister worried about dry spell affecting farmers
Saboto Caesar
May 12, 2023
Agriculture Minister worried about dry spell affecting farmers

Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar has expressed concern about the current “dry spell” that is adversely affecting farmers all across St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Speaking on NBC radio on Wednesday, May 10, Caesar said even areas that are not prone to drought are now experiencing this adverse weather condition.

To help mitigate against the present situation, and to help farmers cope, the Minister said they are already taking water and grass to some livestock farmers.

And, he encouraged farmers who need this service to contact their extension officers in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Minister Caesar said that he plans to have a conversation with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), to come up with a plan to further help farmers.

He explained that this programme of assistance will have to be expanded if the dry condition continues.

“We will have to do zonal distribution instead of just going to those farmers who contact us.”

The minister recently visited farmers in Vermont where he made some observations.

“What was interesting was the dryness of the soil,” he noted, adding that farmers are complaining about the situation.

Based on present weather trends, Minister Caesar said “it means that we are going to see a fall off in production if we do not have rain soon”.

The minister speculated that if Vermont is dry, other farming areas such as San Souci, Langley Park and Argyle will be extremely dry.

Caesar reminded that farmers are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and also from the ravages of the volcanic eruptions.

“We were of the view that this was going to be the year when we don’t have to be bothered.”

The minister said having persevered through the past challenges, he had hoped that “ we were going to just rush right in and the weather conditions would be favourable and we will go and we will plant”.

This did not happen, and Minister Caesar remarked that “nature is in control; God is in control.”

While encouraging farmers to diversify and to get involved in mixed farming, Caesar said that as a result of the dry spell “we will witness an increase in the cost for the produce to be exported.”

At present, consumers are complaining about scarcity and the high price of some agricultural produce.

“The dry weather is having a significant impact on production and productivity,” Minister Caesar stressed.