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Statutory body proposed to lead Agriculture revival in VI

- Agriculture Minister says independent body will be able to secure loans for agricultural operations
A statutory body has been proposed to take the lead on agricultural development in the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
According to Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), the idea of a statutory board for Agriculture in the Virgin Islands is part of proposed legislation changes for agriculture expected in a few months. Photo: VINO/File
According to Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), the idea of a statutory board for Agriculture in the Virgin Islands is part of proposed legislation changes for agriculture expected in a few months. Photo: VINO/File
The production of livestock is also high on the agenda for the Minister responsible for Agriculture, Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7). Photo: VINO/File
The production of livestock is also high on the agenda for the Minister responsible for Agriculture, Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7). Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- As part of a broad initiative towards creating food security in the Virgin Islands, a statutory body has been proposed to take the lead on agricultural development in the Territory.

The idea of a statutory board for Agriculture in the VI is part of proposed legislation changes for agriculture expected in a few months, according to Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7)

“Mr Speaker, an exciting aspect of this legislative revision is the proposal to establish a statutory body, which will be responsible for managing the commercial aspect of agriculture, allowing the department of agriculture to be responsible for the regulation of the sector along with technical support among other services,” Dr Wheatley said in a statement during the continuation of the Fifth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) of the Virgin Islands on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

Independent entity will be able to secure funding

According to the Minister who holds the portfolio for Agriculture, it is envisioned that this body will be an independent legal entity, governed by a board, which will have the ability to secure financing in the form of loans and grants from local, regional, and international entities.

“Mr Speaker, it is also envisioned that this entity can finance local agricultural operations, providing access to land, fencing materials, water, seeds, and whatever else is required to produce crops. Farmers would be contracted to produce crops based on market research. This authority would then buy all the food that these farmers can produce and establish relationships with supermarkets, hotels, and other entities to supply the demand for healthy, organic produce.

‘Exciting time for agriculture’

Dr Wheatley continued that the statutory body will operate a modern farmers market, which will be cultural in nature and appeal to the local and tourist markets. This model, he added, will be applied to livestock as well.

“This is an exciting time for agriculture in the Virgin Islands. We are on the cusp of a new era of food production in these Virgin Islands.”

Dr Wheatley also noted that earlier this month a consultant that his Ministry hired was conducting stakeholder consultations to inform the revision of the agricultural legislation, which he said had not been revised in several decades.

“This consultant met with farmers and was given positive feedback in regard to many of the proposals put to them. These legislative changes should be ready in a short few months,” Dr Wheatley said.

3 Responses to “Statutory body proposed to lead Agriculture revival in VI”

  • Action Speaks (26/02/2020, 13:24) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    All this Rain going to waste... Anyway. Get started quickly we need it badly.... Start with plenty bread fruit, coconut, Avacado and banana trees for a start those will always be demand....Bread fruit, Avacado and coconut trees are long term investment. Of course you add your short term crops like tomatoes, lettuce, Water melons, Cucumbers..etc... Stop the talk time to start..
  • Ganja Crops (26/02/2020, 13:37) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Start with a 3 day Amnesty for Ganja growers... Let them report all their crops at no criminal.penalty.... Test the quality... Compensate all that take part.... Test for quality... let government take it over under the agriculture policy.... Two reasons for this. 1/ you eliminate the competition. 2/ You no the Ganja formers with the land and the skills.... Those that refused to take part will be illegal Ganja formers. . I think this the way to start... Just a thought..
  • PLANT THE SEED... (26/02/2020, 17:13) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    I really hope that this 'statutory body' consists of actual farmers who have worked the land and know what it takes, and not just people who sit behind a desk to collect a paycheck - making decisions on a livelihood that they know nothing about. If you have not ever been a farmer you don't know what farming is and you definitely shouldn't be making decisions on behalf of these hard working people. REAL TALK.


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