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Restaurants & supermarkets asked to support local farmers

Local ingredients plated exquisitely at Brisani’s at the Reef restaurant, bar and lounge.
Premier Smith speaking at the opening of Farmers’ Week. Photo: VINO
Premier Smith speaking at the opening of Farmers’ Week. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Territory’s leader is making an appeal to restaurateurs to support local farmers and highlight on their menus the word ‘fresh’ and ‘local’ to assist with boosting the Virgin Islands’ (VI) tourism product.

Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith, who also holds the portfolio of Finance and Tourism Minister, was at the time speaking at the opening of Farmers’ Week at Paraquita Bay on Friday February 10, 2012.

“Supermarkets, hoteliers, you can do your part in helping us to take agriculture to an even higher level. Through the Ministry and Department of Agriculture, we will do all it can to upgrade the agricultural sector. Perhaps more importantly I want to link our agriculture with our tourism product and in this regard am committed to promoting a ‘local farm to table’ programme,” Hon. Smith told a large crowd including Government officials, farmers, students and invited guests.

He is therefore committed to getting “our finest produce to our finest restaurants” to demonstrate that the most delicious food that the VI can produce can be grown right here and not imported. “I have seen this programme work in the Cayman Islands and in other areas in the Caribbean and am confident that we can do the same to boost our agricultural product.”

For this to happen, it is Government’s goal to find ways to improve access to technical assistance, provide exposure to the use of modern technology, present more information for implementing best practices, and support training for farmers in areas such as canning, processing, drying, freezing, Hon. Smith divulged.

“We see the need to work closely with farmers to empower them to produce more, sell more to local markets and export some of their produce to our regional neighbours. We see the need for businesses to support and purchase goods directly from farmers for resale to our supermarket buyers, restaurants and other places that contribute to our tourism product,” the Premier further stated.

He added, “Agriculture for this government is about promoting the produce of our farmers all year round. Whether it is livestock farming, poultry farming, crop farming, fishing, gardening, we are in full support. Farmers’ Week, we see as an opportunity for us to remind each other that we must support our local farmers.”

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