BVI News

Strengthening ties | BVI supports 49th Agriculture Fest in St Croix

Several residents of the British Virgin Islands took advantage of the free ferry service provided by local government to attend the 49th staging of the Agriculture Festival held at the weekend on St Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.

The three-day event featured a variety of agricultural produce, arts and craft, food and drinks, and live music at Estate Lower Love area.

“Each year, we try to make it to the St Croix Agriculture Fest,” Events and Sponsorship Coordinator with the BVI Tourist Board Cindy Rosan-Jones told members of the media.

“It is important for us at the board because we sponsor a lot of local events and we also have the BVI Food Fete every year, the Poker Run and all these major events. So we try to reach out to our regional partners especially our partners here in the USVI, so we can have them coming over to the BVI for our major events or just to come and relax for a weekend, a week, to chill out with us.”

Reigniting agriculture

Meanwhile, Territorial At-Large representative Neville Smith said the trip was to “reignite agriculture in the BVI”.

He explained: “We want to show the farmers in the BVI and USVI that we really support them, so that’s why we gave it (the trip) at no cost to the farmers and whoever wanted to come. It’s all about networking. They could come, exchange livestock, and engaging back in agriculture. I would love to see this is an annual something that we do.”

Appreciate the support BVI

The organizer of the event, Senator Terrence ‘Positive’ Nelson said he appreciated the support from the BVI.

“This is what I love about Agriculture Festival. The Virgin Islands come together and create a melting pot of different people with different ethnic backgrounds, different economic class, we just blend for three days,  Nelson said.

He continued: “I love it, and I really appreciate the greater Virgin Islands concept, and I appreciate that the BVI has been consistently coming here as well.”

Agriculture trending

He said agriculture is once again ‘trending’ in the neighbouring territory.

“People are using aquaponics; they are using new methods and putting it to the architecture, children are getting involved again, so I think we are just capitalizing on what is happening again as part of the green movement. We want healthy food; we have events where people are cooking on the farm; it is trending. What makes it attractive is that we include others, and we encourage others to come to be a part of our fair,” the senator added.

Over the three-day weekend, 36,000 people were projected to visit the festival to support the 88 vendors, 39 farmers and the four value-added vendors who utilize the farm produce to make jams, chutney and the like.

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  1. The Truth says:

    I won’t call no names whose responsible for the demise of our own Ag week but I hope the VIP govt brings it back.

  2. E. Leonard says:

    Though many who have benefitted and are still benefiting (privilege, inheritance) from Slavery, wants us to pretend that it was an innocent, no harm/no fault issue that happened centuries ago and it is time to move on. No. We should not spend every second focus on it but we should not forget it. Are the Japanese forgetting about their encampment during WWII or is the Israelis forgetting the German concentration camps? Anyway, Slavery and the plantation economy are part of VI history.

    During Slavery and the Plantation Economy, the VI had an agro economy, growing sugar cane, cotton……..etc. After Emancipation on 01 August 1834, a series of events, ie, gales (hurricanes), droughts, cholera outbreak, former slaves revolts Sugar Duty Act………..etc rocked the local economy, resulting in its decline. The economy in decline, the planter class seeing the VI as a poor, poverty stricken locale and only supposedly good as a bird sanctuary packed up and bolted out of the territory.

    Left to fend for themselves, Virgin Islanders (a hardy group) turn to coal burning, cattle and small stock rearing, fishing, sailing, boat building and agriculture (working ground) to eek out a living. The VI was self sufficient in food production and even exported food to the USVI. Today, the VI is not self sufficient in food production and import most of its food and agriculture is on life support, requiring CPR. Due to increase in population, shortage of arable land, use of once arable land for other purposes, competition with imports, stigmatizing of agriculture, retiring of older farmers, water challenges………etc, the VI being self sufficient in food production will be challenging.

    Nonetheless, to reduce the food import bill (spending local), to enhance the food security posture and provide fresher/healthier foods and to the maximum extent practical, the VI should produce as much food as possible, ie, poultry, fruit and vegetables……etc.

    Moreover, agriculture needs a jolt in the arm, a revival. Currently, agriculture is under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Sports, Agriculture and Fisheries. However, IMO, it, fisheries and natural resources should be linked together. Further, in the past, free and voluntary trade with the USVI was easier. Perhaps, in the renewed spirit of cooperation and collaboration between the USVI and VI, some of restrictions can be relaxed.

    Like 11
  3. Sell out says:

    Dr. Pickering kill and buried agriculture. Come to
    Think of it that man kill and bury everything he touch except his rich, white friends. That is one person that I would hate to see back in government. He is a sell out.

  4. Diaspora says:

    The VI was once an agrarian society and starting in the mid 60s there was transition to services. Today, the economy is totally service base and is anchored with tourism and financial services. Nonetheless, agriculture and agriculture workers theoretically would feed the territory. However, agriculture face some challenges. As noted by other bloggers, the territory was once self sufficient in food production but it is not today. It is heavily dependent on food import.

    A number of factors (as already noted by other bloggers) influence this change, including a) agriculture viewed as being to closely aligned with slavery, b) shortage of flat arable land, c) repurposing of arable land for housing and other uses, d)availability of water, e) older farmers retiring or passing on, f)stigma assigned to work in agriculture, g) production cost of imports relative to local, h)increased/increasing population…. etc.

    Nevertheless, it is advantageous for territory to produce more locally to reduce food import bill. Spending locally creates a multiplier effect in the economy. Additionally, producing more locally enhances food security. In regards to VI and USVI collaborating on agricultural production, it is a good step. Which islands have an absolute or comparative advantage in agricultural production?

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