Our Readers' Opinions
October 20, 2015
Why was CARDI silent?

Editor: CARDI, I understand is the acronym for Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, which has been around for many years and the impression has been that the organization is relatively strong in resources to carry out its mandate.{{more}}

There has been the general feeling that as far as agriculture in the Caribbean is concerned, CARDI has been well placed to observe and interpret the impact that prevailing and impending factors could have on the region.

That makes one wonder how it is then, that the administrators of the sub-region could have declared that they had devised a plan to stimulate the economy of the subregion, without any input from CARDI. We remember that that plan provided for the injection of significant capital into the sectors of tourism, fishing, construction and manufacturing. There was no mention of agriculture in that stimulation plan.

No regard was paid to the fact that agriculture had then the capacity to generate tens of thousands of jobs, almost overnight, while fortifying our food security status. It has been recorded that the targeted sectors experienced negative growth in the succeeding years.

It is still painful to reflect on how our top-tier technocrats and political administrators could have been so indifferent to our basic realities. This almost callous indifference was nakedly exposed when Sir Dwight Venner advised that the subregion could buy its food cheaper, if it is purchased collectively from sources outside of the region.

Our own food security was of no import to him and his team. This was at a time when more developed nations had been taking measures to address their own food security.

At that point we should have heard from CARDI, but CARDI was silent, and now our agriculture sector is crippled. Some of the vital support systems and services to the farmers have disappeared. Former vibrant employers of people are now forced to accept “poor relief” to buy food and are at the mercy of condescending politicians.

Recently it was almost comic to hear the Minister of Agriculture imploring farmers to participate in the NIS!

So, what can CARDI do for us in SVG now? It can help in ensuring that there is very soon a comprehensive evaluation of the Eight-Point Stabilization and Growth Plan and report on it.

LeRoy Providence