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Local agriculture regulatory body coming

Dr Kedrick Pickering (File photo)

Minister with responsibility for agriculture, Dr Kedrick Pickering said government plans to merge the state-owned agriculture and fisheries departments and implement a local agriculture regulatory body.

The minister’s announcement comes amid increased calls from local agriculture workers for government to promote and invest in the industry.

“We see the importance of forming a regulatory body to deal with some of the wider issues that even just came about,” said Dr Pickering during a public meeting with residents of the Ninth Electoral District on Virgin Gorda last evening.

Dr Pickering also announced government’s intention of providing land for fisherfolk and farmers to do business.

He said the Ministry of Natural Resources is already facilitating partnerships between local farmers and overseas companies by providing land.

“One company, for instance, wants to lease three acres from government. It’s a joint venture between locals and an international company that has wide experience in this area. I am prepared to take that to Cabinet in the next couple of weeks to help take that project off the ground,” Dr Pickering said.

Calls from the agriculture community

There has been talk among local farmers and fisherfolk that government has shown little interest in developing their industry over the last few years.

Among the things agriculture workers have been clamouring for in recent times is legislation and funding that will help improve their livelihoods.

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15 Comments

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  1. .... says:

    The minister isn’t making any sense. Why would you need a regulatory body to address the issues of the agriculture industry, such as the government not investing enough into same. The point of a regulator is not address the concerns of industry stakeholders but rather to introduce new rules and enforce same. I suppose what the Minister is really trying to say is that he just does not want to deal with the farmers.

  2. Really says:

    To The Minister, before allocating additional land to farmers please drive up Paraquita Bay behind the college and see how those farmers who have the land keeping the place. Nasty!! Derelict vehicles and all the garbage you can think of the place is literally a dump! Demand that they all clean up that farm land and actually plant food before additional land is given.

    • concerned citizen says:

      If agriculture is survive in the BVI we should move to more modern practices. We need to reintegrate agriculture into the education system and advise of its importance as an essential industry. There should also be trained agricultural workers and an educated chief agricultural officer who can provide to farmers much needed technical advice and support. Additionally, young persons need to continue to build on what was done by the older farmers. Through these measures both the public and farmers will understand the industry’s true potential and those types of incidences pointed out will no longer occur.

  3. Albion says:

    I don’t care what they do, so long as they bring the roaming cows problem under control.

  4. Hmmm says:

    waste of time.

  5. FACT says:

    cares about his rich friends.

  6. Not2Sure says:

    I never understand why Government is so obsessed with the farming industry. Agriculture counts for less than 1% of the BVI economy, yet it gets its own Government Ministry, and now it seems it own private regulatory body.

    Financial Services accounts for 60% of the economy, but it gets no Ministry, no minister, no Govenrnmental oversight or direction – they just push everything across to FSC and hope for the best.

    Why is Government so obsessed with talking about farmers? Can we please prioritise our scarce resources a little bit better.

  7. Interested says:

    There must be a balance.Fsc needs constant promotion yes,but agriculture and fishing need attention as well.Have’nt we learnt anythyfrom the recent hurricanes? Do we want to rely on sardines and tuna fish for survival during states of emergency?

    • fish bvi says:

      Interested,,You are right about that. What no one seems to know is that the deep water guys were back out fishing within the month of the storms passing.
      They did not wait on anyone for help or aid. After taking care of their homes and communities they stepped up and went back out to sea as soon as they could. They set an example to the rest of the country, so thank you guys for putting country first and not sitting around and complaining.

  8. concerned citizen says:

    for a better agriculture industry we first need education in modern agricultural practices. We need to get it back in schools as a fundamental and essential industry options.it would therefore be vital to have trained agricultural workers inclusive of an educated chief agricultural officer to give farmers much needed technical advice and support. It is also of utmost importance for young persons in the territory to continue to build on where older farmers left of. only though these suggested measures can we as a people build a sustainable agricultural sector in the BVI.

  9. listen says:

    YOU ALL DON’T CARE ABOUT AGRICULTURE!! GMO GMO GMO IS ALL THAT’S PUSHING IN THIS PLACE MAKING PEOPLE SICK!

  10. Diplomat says:

    What Regulatory Body for the Agricultural and Fisheries Department. All that is needed is some policies to protect the public, procedures for getting help for getting assistance from government, proper accounting for resources, outlining public education and outreach, guidance to assist staff in managing the department ……..etc. When a governmental body does not want to make a decision, it hires a consultant more often to buy time or defer the decision altogether. This regulatory body is a similar action. Lower the bureaucratic temperature.

    The territory does not have the arable land to produce all the food needed to fully support itself; nonetheless, the territory should take action to maximize output from available arable acres to improve its food security posture. For example, government should put plans and programmes in place to assist farmers in increasing yield per acre. It can also help farmers with irrigation, transportation, equipment, central market to sell produce…….etc. Further, it can educate residents with small plots on how to use them to produce vegetables……….. etc from garden plots. Fishing?

    Fish is a popular food in the VI; residents have an appetite for pot, line and seine fish. Talapia, Cat fish……. etc is muck. To avoid depletion of fish, regulation must be put in place to regulate size, seasonal type and farm area closure/catch, restricted area…….etc. Government needs to provide fishermen with assistance, ie, equipment, boats, rope, markers,, central market,……etc.

    Moreover, the small local fishermen, including those on sister isands, cannot be left out of the equation. Government should take action to prevent illegal fishing in its territorial waters, especially on its eastern, northern and southern flanks. Illegal fishing depletes the farming area, deprives local fisherman of the benefit of fishing in local waters, deprives the economy of local spending………etc.

  11. People's advocate says:

    What plan does the good minister has for distribution of the 3,000 seedlings? My recommendation remains that an equal distribution be given to the electoral districts.

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