Local food production

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Modernization has meant that few young persons wish to go into farming. This trend, if not addressed, will lead to a loss of agricultural varieties and a decline in the lucrative farming industry. More importantly also, it was lead to a decline in food security and a rise in rural poverty.  Also, a balance between agriculture and tourism, is critical to sustaining the delicate balance of St. Vincent’s ecosystem, which would be destroyed by an over reliance on tourism and the development that comes with it. 

At present, St. Vincent remains the largest supplier in the region of ground provisions (potatoes, eddoes, yams etc) to Barbados and Trinidad. It is worrying that this ‘bread basket’ however, is one that is heavily reliant on the use of pesticides. For example, the chemical glyphosphate, which was banned in the rest of the world, was up until September 2015 being used by farmers in SVG. 

Meanwhile, the islands’ food supply is largely dependent on imports from the USA. Local agriculture, predominantly small-scale, has difficulties in competing with intensive production from outside. But a growing demand for quality food and organic products produced locally provides new opportunities for the revival of farming. Organic production is on the rise and there is potential for many more farmers to focus on growing organic produce.

Extensive banana farming in the 1980s and 1990s meant that there was a high reliance on chemicals and great resultant damage to the environment. The fall out in the banana industry in an opportunity for SVG to move away from a highly chemical based agriculture to one that is more sustainable. It is an opportune time to re-introduce natural farming to SVG’s farmers. 

The precipitous decline in the banana industry over the past decades has meant that much the previously forested land deployed in the industry now lies fallow. The reforestation of these fallow lands, ideally where possible with fruit bearing trees, would be environmentally beneficial and would serve to enhance the food security capacity of the surrounding communities. SVGPF would seek to generate public awareness of the long term benefits of such community based initiatives and where feasible support reforestation and natural farming projects.