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‘Indigenous farmers being run over!’ – Lorie A. Rhymer

- 'Provide subsidies to farmers as incentive to allow them to produce & reduce food bill' - Hon J. Alvin Christopher
Public Relations Officer of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) Lorie A. Rhymer said local farmers are being run over by persons selling imported produce for cheaper than local produce and that this situation must be corrected if agriculture in the territory is to go anywhere. Photo: VINO/File
PEP President Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru and PEP Chairman Hon J. Alvin Christopher (R2) spoke about agriculture during the PEP's talk show last evening March 23, 2015. Photo: VINO/File
PEP President Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru and PEP Chairman Hon J. Alvin Christopher (R2) spoke about agriculture during the PEP's talk show last evening March 23, 2015. Photo: VINO/File
Some of the agriculture produce on display during the opening day of the new farmers' market in Road Town. Photo: VINO/File
Some of the agriculture produce on display during the opening day of the new farmers' market in Road Town. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Public Relations Officer of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) Lorie A. Rhymer said local farmers are being run over by persons selling imported produce far cheaper than local produce and that this situation must be corrected if agriculture in the territory is to go anywhere.

He was among the panelists on PEP Radio heard on ZBVI 780 AM last evening March 23, 2015. Sharing the panel were Chairman of the PEP Honourable J. Alvin Christopher and President of the PEP Natalio D. Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru. The show was hosted by party member Mrs Julia Christopher.

Rhymer slammed the recently opened farmers’ market in Road Town saying that produce from outside the territory are more dominant than local produce. “Most of the stuff that is being sold now is stuff that is imported from the other islands.

“And the indigenous farmers, people who have dedicated themselves to that particular type of work and production are being run over. Their things are not being sold. Some said that their [produce] is much more expensive than what is imported from outside,”

“I think that we need to look at that very carefully…we need to sit down and talk with the farmers, with the persons with the right educational expertise as to what should be done going forward,” said Rhymer.

“We put our economy and our people at risk when we do not take advantage, when we do not take advantage of the great benefits that can be derived from producing the number of food items that we need in the Virgin Islands,” said Rhymer.

'Provide subsidies to farmers'- Hon J. Alvin Christopher

Chairman of the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) Honourable J. Alvin Christopher (R2) called for the Government to provide subsidies to farmers to encourage them to produce more thereby ensuring that persons have access to healthy food and that the huge food import bill is reduced.

“I know for a fact that there is an established Farmer’s Association and for too many years I think they have been ignored. I cannot say right now how functional that unit is,” said Honourable Christopher.

“But I think that the People’s Empowerment Party will endeavour to try to work with the farmers to help to develop their produce. There is also a section in the Department for marketing farmers’ produce but for how functional it is I can’t say but it doesn’t seem to be working very well,” he said.

Hon Christopher further said that his observation over the years and, based on how he sees funding has been going for the Department of Agriculture, he knows that they cannot be very strong and their output at the Depot in Paraquita Bay speaks volumes to that effect,” said Hon Christopher.

“We believe that agriculture for it to function and function well it must be heavily subsidised by Government in order to put the farmers in a position where they can actually bring more produce to the market,” he said.

Farmers can make a comfortable living

“When you look at the demand this country has for chicken and pork that this country needs and those are things that we could produce if we had the right incentive to do it, farmers can make a comfortable living because food is always a need. So if we could reduce our import on these things and have those millions circulating in our economy it could make a world of difference,” he said.

Wheatley, in making his contribution, said that the party sees cooperatives as having tangible benefits for farmers.

“In the past we were more of a subsistence economy and every farmer would do a little bit and when you put it together the little bit becomes much. But now you have a smaller amount of farmers and a smaller amount of land available and it behooves us as people interested in agriculture to be able to collaborate in a number of different areas,” he said.

Mr Wheatley also suggested that Government allow farmers to have a subsidised water rate and that there should be the sharing of labour costs among farmers.

17 Responses to “‘Indigenous farmers being run over!’ – Lorie A. Rhymer”

  • island man (24/03/2015, 16:24) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply

    These people need to figure out what indigenous means before talking $h1t

    • @ Island Man (24/03/2015, 17:04) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
      people who are born here and can trace one or both of their parent/s and grand prantes to being born in the BVI..its set out in the BVI consitituion
      • No (24/03/2015, 19:25) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply

        That is NOT what indigenous means in the true sense. The point is everyone is from somewhere and most of the names that are considered 'local' are are NOT local. While we focus on separating each other, people come in here, build themselves while we complain like @$$3$. People like Lorie, Edmund and others cannot accept that times have changed and ignorance and fear will no longer control people and keep them like jackasses. If the locals had so much produce to sell where were they all the time? All of a sudden the other people see a niche market and capitalize on it, it's a problem? If locals were on the street plying the trade there would be no room for the 'others'. You all are sick sick people and will get nowhere with that mentality. You want to sit back and be a proud local but don't want to do the heavy lifting, then complain? If locals were so into agriculture why is Government relied on to do everything? Why couldn't a local farmers union be formed and they themselves approach government as a unit and demand certain things? I will tell you why, that requires unity and discipline. It requires hard work and drive. We rather complain and blame Government and island people for our ills than look in the mirror and take blame. I'm a BVislander that trace my lineage way way WAAY back and to be frank, this type of foolishness is sickening to the stomach. Most locals want to drive taxi, own apartments, own commercial buildings, car rentals, work Government, work trust company and upset when other people have to fill the voids elsewhere. Keep it up and see what happens.

    • facts man (25/03/2015, 12:28) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Do not answer them silly first generation people they very well know who and who is an indigenous Virgin Islands...They can read...Born in the VI to BVI parent-at least one and grandparents are born in the VI at least one. Only third generation is indigenous
  • how? (24/03/2015, 16:34) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply

    How many local farmers that we have, that have enough produce to sell on a large scale, after feeding themselves, family and friends? I know a lot of farmers who have stock but not a great volume. Did Lori and PEP meet with the local farmers to find out their needs or they are just talking £$%^ as usual? This Government actually did something for the farmers, it is a start. If the local farmers were doing what they supposed to do there would be no room for people to import produce from Dominica, St Vincent etc. If they are importing them it means people are buying them, that's life, that's business. Think about the consumer and stop thinking about yourselves. Lorie and PEP needs to just put a sock in it, nobody studying them with their piss.

  • one eye (24/03/2015, 16:37) Like (5) Dislike (13) Reply
    trust me NDP hates the indigenous Virgin ISlander take that to the bank its an island man goverment
  • Outspoken (24/03/2015, 16:44) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    LR shut your backside imported produced must be more dominant because the Local farmers cannot produce enough. Some of us just say things for political mileage. You operates a restaurant, where do you buy your produce from, how many local farmers do you patronize
  • voter (24/03/2015, 18:05) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Yawn. Just a bunch who will lose their deposit come next elections. Nothing to see here. Moving right along....
  • Vi for life (24/03/2015, 18:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ one eye we all a island people ,electorate persons behave in sertin ways figure it out
  • Wellsah (24/03/2015, 19:27) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    How much of those baked chicken Lorie selling by the complex come from a local farmer? Where does he buy his fish? seasonings? potato? tomatoes? I beg Lorie please get off the stage from embarrassing himself. A man like Mark I could see talking about this as a politician because he buys local produce all the time to sell at his supermarket, ask anyone of them. If they have it, he buys it. Where Lorie going? All of a sudden he cares? When he thought he was going to replace Mr Oneal in the 9th under the VIP banner, all was well. But now he is concerned. Nonsense!
  • ABC (24/03/2015, 20:31) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    We are all aware that what we are hearing from our Government Officials is nothing more than hot air. The last Farmers week clearly demonstrated that farming is almost non existent in the BVI. Needless to say, the Government is not putting its money where its mouth is. The Department Of Agriculture has nothing to help or offer the farmers. Funding for that Department is so poor that our tent was returned to the Department as there were insufficient funds to repair it. That Department should be closed as it is in no position to render the type of assistance that is needed.
    • ok (24/03/2015, 22:23) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      What the F are they doing to help themselves? Where is the BVI Farmers facebook page? Where is the union? Where are they marching and calling into radio shows etc. All I see are a bunch of complaining people that think goverment is the answer to everything. As much as Im not a taxi fan they should take a page out their book. They fight together until they get their way. Im sick of the damn complaining. Do something for godsake.
  • born here (24/03/2015, 23:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    This man need to go back to his food van from talking $h1t

  • Biggs (25/03/2015, 04:43) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ ABC you on point but I feel the farmers can do more for them self but the big picture is government need to help all farmers and not just a certain set all the time but it running how it is because minister said in a public meeting he don't care about agriculture so let lory do his thing its like woman dose say if you don't want to do it some one else will do it.
  • Online Now (25/03/2015, 09:22) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    How can locally produced farm products be more expensive than imported? The cost to ship here alone should give the local farmers the edge. I suggest the onous is on the local farmers to sort out their pricing to become competitive. Don't even start me on the "indigenous" thing!


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