Minister of Agriculture Dr Natalio Wheatley is projecting that poultry production will become a major source of revenue for Anegada’s economy in the near future.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for a poultry facility in Anegada recently, Dr Wheatley said there should not be any reason for the Virgin Islands to import poultry.
He said all it takes to increase production is the will, the finances, making the land available, and then Anegada would be able to supply the entire Virgin Islands with poultry and its by-products.
“There is no reason why we can’t do it. I have to check the statistics, but poultry has to be at least a $15 to $20 million business here in the Virgin Islands. I am sure some of the millionaires we have from the poultry business can come from here in Anegada. Why not? We are making millionaires out of other people in the world. Look at the prices in the supermarket on how expensive they are? Food makes money,” the Agriculture Minister stated.
Dr Wheatley said whenever people go to the supermarket, they can see the price of the food, and this should highlight the fact that food makes money. He noted that farmers are also making money by selling produce to supermarkets and supermarkets also make money reselling.
“So, why don’t you sell to the supermarket? You make the money. I want the young people to be familiar with poultry because we want our children and our grandchildren to do it. We want to make them exposed to it,” Dr. Wheatley said.
“We can supply the whole of the Virgin Islands in food and export to the USVI and other places. We have to be able to sustain Anegada year-round, have a stable economy year-round and when the tourist come sell them Anegada food,” the minister continued.
He said this is the current vision for agriculture and the government must invest. The minister said the money for the investment will come from the fund created from the seven per cent tax placed on money transfer transactions going out of the territory.
Dr Wheatley further said the more people send money out of the territory, the more the fund grows and they will be able to utilise it to assist farmers and fisherfolks.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said his ministry has been focusing on the sister islands for this year’s Farmers’ and Fishers’ Week.
“This year we started off in Jost Van Dyke, then we went to Virgin Gorda and now we are here in Anegada. Our sister islands are a big part of our agriculture and fisheries vision. We know Anegada run fishing, but we have so much potential here in agriculture,” Dr Wheatley said.
“You have the land, the space to be able to make agriculture a real driver of your economy and its time to take it to the next level. I’m so glad I could work with Honourable Vincent Wheatley because we have to be bold,” the minister added.
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