The region is said to have a US$4 billion per year food import bill.
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Thursday July 27, 2017 – A new EC$20,000 (US$7,407.26) a week trade agreement has been signed to export produce from St Vincent and the Grenadines to Trinidad and Tobago as part of the growing OECS Agri-Export Initiative.
St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar has been working with the OECS Commission, counterparts, manufacturers, traders and the Bureau of Standards to help drive down the food import bill in the Eastern Caribbean through the initiative which has opened up new trading routes and promotes food production self-sufficiency.
Since the start of the pioneering initiative, St Vincent and the Grenadines has shipped 3,325 fifty-pound boxes of dasheen to the United States. Dominica, on its first shipment, successfully exported a 20-foot container comprising 425 fifty-pound boxes of dasheen.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is now greatly increasing production with 2,000 acres of coffee being planted with another million soursop plants, dasheen, squash and other vegetables being cultivated.
“The OECS Commission has done an excellent job in establishing the framework for this important export strategy and I call all stakeholders in the public and private sector in OECS member states to activate their national systems in order to make this dream a further reality,” Caesar said.
Agriculture ministers of OECS member states convened in St Vincent and the Grenadines this week for further talks on strengthening the regional agricultural agenda, with food security and the agriculture export initiative being key points of discussion.