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Cabinet approves $2M to stimulate local food production

Dr Natalio Wheatley

Agriculture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said $2 Million has been set aside to stimulate local food production and assist fisherfolk in the British Virgin Islands.

Speaking via a statement late Friday, he said the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands approved the sum for the stimulus package labelled, ‘The Rapid Response Fishing and Farming Production Programme’.

“It means that this funding programme will be used to purchase the supplies, among other areas, necessary to get our fisherfolks back in the water. It means that this funding will be used to purchase the needed supplies to get our farmers back on their grounds. And access to this funding means that we will ramp up production and provide the local market with the food necessary to sustain ourselves in this Virgin Islands economy,” Dr Wheatley explained.

The Agriculture Minister then invited ‘fulltime commercial fishers and farmers’ to contact the Department of Agriculture at 284-468-6123 to register for this programme.

He said they’s be required to give information on the type of support that is needed to get them moving forward.

Additionally, Minister Wheatley said he would be drawing on the vast agricultural expertise within the BVI to support the programme.

“Fishing and farming is nothing new to the people of the Virgin Islands. It is how we initially built this economy. We are going back to basics but in a modern form for the saying is true: “We must never forget our roots.” Fishing and farming sustained our fore-parents for centuries, and Fishing and Farmers can help us today.”

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21 Comments

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  1. Ganja says:

    Thought we were going to eat ganja. If youall were thinking all the time, we would have been plant up with food to put in our plates when no ship can’t sail here and countries that producing need their produce for their own population.

    Ganja tea should be a good pulmonary medicine. I’m not promoting smoking it. Lift the law let people grow some and make tea to help with the pneumonia that covid19 bring with it

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
    • Agreed says:

      I agree with you however this thing about it not being food is simply untrue. The whole plant is an edible crop.

      The reason people dont eat it is because its expensive AF & currently no one wants to waste it like that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wait and see who benefits and where the money will really go. Similar amonts went into similar and other initiatives, and the problems are still existing, ie, agriculture, no food production or security, total dependency on external imports, dead fisheries system, solid waste, human waste, and the list goes on.

  3. Wouldn't it be cool, says:

    If they got just ONE thing right.

  4. No nonsense says:

    NHI need money AGAIN to pay its health suppliers, overdue increments still to be paid and whey the food farmers is???

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  5. JUST SAYING says:

    another 2M gone in somebody pocket

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  6. Diaspora says:

    The Coronavirus is a pandemic that is increasing the demand for and panic buying for goods and services, including food. Though VI imports practically all its goods, in this global crisis, it is not a top priority on the distribution chart. Suppliers in the US and other suppliers are focusing on the domestic markets. Food security has been a challenging issue across successive governments for decades yet little to nothing was done to address the challenge.

    The VI, though self sufficient in earlier times, will not be self sufficient in the near term nor in the immediate future. Several factors contribute to this including a)limited arable land, b)converting scarce arable land to other uses(housing….etc), c)water challenges, d)explosive population growth, e)stigmatizing working ground (agriculture), f)retiring of older farmers, g)lack of interest by millennials and centennials in agriculture, h)competition with imports……..etc.

    Nonetheless, though the VI may not be self sufficient in food production, it must aggressively assert its effort to reduce food import and the food import bill, and to enhance food security. Though agriculture may not be as glamorous as financial serves or tourism or working in a government office, it is important for the territory’s survival, growth and development.

    Like 10
  7. On Looker says:

    Is it just me or, this makes no sense, what equipment has to be bought, or is he giving money to his former party mate.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  8. Plant your own food says:

    So many of you have back yards and you don’t utilize your back yards. I have a spread in my backyard. Cabbage, collards, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, okra, every type of fresh herbs. If it can grow in hot weather, it can grow here. I do not like or trust imported foods. I could recall my late grandfather making his own butter at home and growing everything.

  9. dsas says:

    STIMULATE MY BELLY! RUB IT! I WILL LIE ON MY BACK! IT MAKES ME LESS ANXIOUS AND ALSO HUNGRY AT THE SAME TIME!!

  10. Moses says:

    Back the the sea? Back to the land? Where has everyone been. Without a plan this appears to be questionable? When do we have a chance to see the audit results? When do we get to have the whistleblower law that was promised? When do we get an update on the missing $7.2m?

  11. TurtleDove says:

    Another hand out?… you need to be able to measure return on capital…you need policies to make local crops/fish affordable…you need the retail businesses on board…you have to hold the people you give money to accountable and they need to have a viable business or plan that is measurable…most of the food/fish need to be on supermarket shelves…..in short we need a comprehensive plan not a promise of money doc…

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
    • Robinhood says:

      What do you mean another handout?

      This is what is wrong with some people. All these years of paying taxes and you cant catch a break without someone yelling HAND OUT HAND OUT.

      The article mentions full time farmers and fishers. In a time like this where the world is being brought to its knees by this virus… if these people dont have what they need, let them list what they need & then give it to them.

      • TurtleDove says:

        @Robinhood

        I understand but there must be a plan. I did not see a plan in the article….not against helping and this is not a out the people getting the money…..it is about a sustainable plan…bad choice of words on my part….makes it hard to have a good conversation….

  12. Confused says:

    So it’s not that trying to get back into farming is not vital for us here but the timing of such fund allocation leaves me breathless! Just this week big companies can just let go people for up to three months without pay. Shouldn’t we be assisting feeding those who likely haven’t three months savings readily available since post Irma survival depleted most of those saving accounts ! On another note … how does our country continue to sustain health expenses for everyone who is in un employed ? Oh wait .. we have to keep paying that ourselves and our mortgages and our credit cards because no prior discussions have occurred between the banking world and our leaders ! My honest opinion is to advise our leaders to follow up on their announcements with back up plans so that we as a nation we can feel secure in these decisions ! God Bless our Government because this is a very difficult time for them too and May God continue to guide them always to make wise and thorough decisions for their people !

  13. Resident says:

    Are they supposed to plant the money? Is this a case of building a toilet when you want to use it?
    Why wasn’t agriculture promoted before?
    Oh how we need visionaries.

  14. YOUTH says:

    I commend this Government for all that they are doing. I am impressed.

  15. real stuff says:

    Couldn’t find fresh ginger nowhere. I mean nowhere. It is a friend who like to plant up went behind her house and pull up a ginger root. This same ginger made ginger tea to help with some symptoms. we can each do a little thing. Plant a banana or plantain tree, grow some mint or thyme in a pot, a tomato tree outside your kitchen. Might not be in mass production, but every little helps. I done plan to go throw out a line by the bay to catch fish. May Jah bless and guide the entire country. None aint better than none right now

  16. Rubber Duck says:

    The BVI is very unsuited to farming.

    But establishing a proper fishing industry is something that could be done. Two or three big properly designed fishing boats to fish the deep waters at and beyond the drop off would make a huge difference.

    Tourists are surprised by and often comment on the lack of fresh fish.

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