Our Readers' Opinions
June 20, 2014
Agriculture and mining: The way to SVG’s economic development

by Matthew Thomas Fri, Jun 20, 2014


For the purpose of food security, industry and income generation, there needs to be a very serious agriculture and agricultural rehabilitation programme. For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture needs to be greatly restructured and decentralized.{{more}} Such restructuring should include the establishment of agricultural clinics, each of which should be manned by an agricultural extension officer, a veterinary officer and ancillary staff, who would at all times provide professional advice and training to farmers.

For any agricultural programme to become successful, access to and use of farm lands must be made easy. To achieve this, a massive agricultural feeder-road programme is critical, together with potable water, electricity and assistance to farmers for the building of farm houses and pens. Animal husbandry must be an integral part of every farm.

For far too long, both the ULP and the NDP have been speaking glibly about investing in agriculture, but without specificity. Apart from quoting figures in thin air, it is the same old paradigm of “Divesting around Banana,” while our farm roads remain non-existent or in a state of disrepair. Proper farm roads and other ancillary services, such as light and water, are inevitable. They are like the veins and capillaries to the body’s vital organs, without which there will be a total shutdown and a collapse of the entire system.


Given the rising cost of fertilizer, for any meaningful agricultural programme to succeed in SVG, there must be established a fertilizer plant, more favourably in the Rabacca area. The source of raw material for such a plant will be had from the farm waste.


Besides the production of animal feed on a commercial basis, each farmer or group of farmers should be provided with a hopper or hoppers in which they can process their grass into small cuttings or pellets to make better the art of feeding their animals.


St Vincent and the Grenadines is blessed with an abundance of hard granite rocks which can become the basis of an extensive mining and manufacturing industry. Among the products that can be manufactured for both the local, regional and extra-regional markets are: (1) ceramic tiles, (2) bricks, (3) hollow and solid blocks, and (4) various grades of aggregates. To achieve this, it is imperative that a number of stone crushing plants be established. The following, among other places, will be ideally suited namely: Richmond, Cumberland, Mount Wynne, Questelles/Chauncey, and the Colonarie river valley; also a CERAMIC TILE factory at Richmond.


Given the mountainous nature of St Vincent, the difficulty of communication linkages between the various communities is an impediment to the proper economic development of the country. It takes virtually a day to get from Richmond on the north west, travelling along the coast, to Georgetown on the north-east. These are geographically separated by approximately four to five miles of mountainous terrain. In order to develop a better road network system to meet the requirements for the development of agriculture and industry as outlined, the following road networks, among others, will become absolutely necessary. They are:

(1) THE CHATEAUBELAIR/MARRIAQUA VALLEY ROAD…. This road will run from Chateaubelair via Sharpes into the Rose Hall and into Palmyra and Spring Village over onto Belle Isle, north-east of the land fill into Dallaway, down into the Vermont Valley and eastward into Kilbourney.

(2) THE GREIGGS/COLONARIE/BYREA MOUNTAIN ROAD…This road will run from Greiggs via the Fiddle Wood mountains, over into the Colonarie mountain valley and into Byrea.

(3) THE TRINITY FALLS/BAMBOO RANGE ROAD… Reopen the Trinity Falls road, continuing by way of cross country road, east to Bamboo Range into Rabacca.

(4) THE LAYOU/VERMONT VALLEY ROAD…Link Layou to the Vermont Valley by way of Palmiste into the Chateaubelair/Marriaqua Valley road.

(5) THE FITZ-HUGHES/RICHMOND VALE CONTAINER PORT… Construct a container port at Fitz-Hughes/Richmond Vale. (Blasting down the hill between Richmond Vale and the VINLEC power plant). This port will be the depot for the export of all agricultural produce and fertilizer, ceramic tiles, bricks, blocks and aggregates. It will serve also as an anchorage for yachts.


With this type of infrastructure as outlined, Rabacca is ideally poised to become a model agri-industrial estate, hence the establishment of: (1) a milk-processing plant and (2) a meat-processing plant.

Given the kind of infrastructure as outlined, the cost would be phenomenal, but not insurmountable. The benefits, however, will be invaluable. The technology is available. We need the will and the right political leadership.