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UPDATE: Gov't confirms VINO story of Farmers' Week cancellation

- claimed farmers complained adverse weather affected crop production
Farmers' Week 2016 has been postponed until next year as, according to Government, Farmers complained adverse weather affected crop production. Photo: VINO/File
 The 2015 Farmers Week Exhibition was poorly supported by farmers as according to sources, farmers were not pleased with the way they were being “handled” by officials of the Department of Agriculture. This year 2016, however, there will be no exhibition. Photo: VINO/File
The 2015 Farmers Week Exhibition was poorly supported by farmers as according to sources, farmers were not pleased with the way they were being “handled” by officials of the Department of Agriculture. This year 2016, however, there will be no exhibition. Photo: VINO/File
In 2015 local farmers had called for the removal of Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes from their offices. Photo: VINO/File
In 2015 local farmers had called for the removal of Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes from their offices. Photo: VINO/File
According to reports reaching Virgin Islands News Online, the Department of Agriculture said it was not having an exhibition this year since most farmers’ crops were affected by pests, namely butterflies. Photo: GIS
According to reports reaching Virgin Islands News Online, the Department of Agriculture said it was not having an exhibition this year since most farmers’ crops were affected by pests, namely butterflies. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- As first and accurately reported by this news site on January 14, 2016, Farmers’ Week 2016 has been cancelled.

Our story was confirmed today February 4, 2016 by Government via a press release from the Department of Information.

It is the first time in years that the highly anticipated event has been cancelled.

According to the press release, representatives from the Department of Agriculture met with local farmers from each of the islands and the decision came after hearing the concerns of the farming community, surrounding the negative effects of recent varying weather patterns on local crops.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering was quoted as saying: “I know that the public was eagerly anticipating Farmers’ Week this year, as it is a time when we are able to see firsthand the bountiful livestock and crops of the land. Regrettably, we are not having the celebrations; however, I can assure the public that the planning committee will use this period to put their ideas together to make Farmers’ Week 2017 a memorable and enjoyable one.”

Chief Agricultural Officer, Mr Bevin Braithwaite, according to the press release, said 2015 rainfall records indicated the worst drought in the Caribbean in the past five years.

“According to the Department of Disaster Management, up until September 2015, Tortola and Virgin Gorda only had 7.25 and 10.26 inches compared to 20.81 and 19.99 inches respectively, during the same period in 2014. This extended drought severely affected crops and livestock production in the BVI. The loss of production meant that there would be no suitable exhibits at the February 2016 Farmers’ Week,” Mr Braithwaite said.

The 2015 Farmers Week Exhibition was poorly supported by farmers as, according to sources, farmers were not pleased with the way they were being “handled” by officials of the Department of Agriculture.

See previous story published January 14, 2016

2016 Farmers Week Exhibition cancelled!

The 2015 Farmers Week Exhibition was poorly supported by farmers as, according to sources, farmers were not pleased with the way they were being “handled” by officials of the Department of Agriculture. This year 2016, however, there will be no exhibition.

According to reports reaching Virgin Islands News Online, the Department of Agriculture said it was not having an exhibition since most farmers’ crops were affected by pests, namely butterflies.

Some have suggested that the cancellation of the exhibition was more of a face saving measure for the Department since another boycott was likely.

The Farmers Week Exhibition was held at the end of January last year.

Efforts to reach both Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) Mr Bevin Brathwaite and Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes were not successful as we were told they both were in a meeting at the time. The person who took our call said only Mr Brathwaite or Mrs Fahie-Forbes would be able to address our queries.

2015 Farmers Week was a flop

The participation in Farmers Week Exhibition last year was at an all time low with just 20 participants compared to previous years when the numbers had been significantly higher. An official of the department, who had asked not to be named as they were not permitted to speak to the media, said it had been a challenge to get the cooperation of most local farmers.

“It’s not expected to be better at Anegada, Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda, farmers are frustrated and our management seems not to be prepared to reach them at their levels. I work here and I know of their concerns. Management, honestly, has been working above the farmers' heads and not side by side with them,” said the official.

Meanwhile, prominent farmers in the territory had blasted the Minister responsible for Agriculture, Dr The Hon Kedrick D. Pickering and top officials of the Department of Agriculture for what they [farmers] termed as the shabby handling of the sector as reflected in Farmers’ Week 2015 which had been a flop.

There was also a call for the removal of Mr Brathwaite and Mrs Fahie-Forbes from those offices.

This news site had spoken with several farmers who had said they were too frustrated to participate in the Farmers’ Week activities in 2015 because they felt disrespected and shabbily handled. But while others were not bold enough to come forward to go on record, prominent farmer Ms Moviene F. Fahie did.

“The Chief Agricultural Officer has his favourite farmers who he is interested in, who he likes and who he hates. But I think we need to stop that kind of behaviour in the BVI because when you continue with this kind of behaviour it’s going to destroy the country,” farmer Moviene F. Fahie had alleged in an exclusive interview with this news site.

See link to related stories here:

http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/farmers-week-2015-opening-a-big-flop

http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/agri-dept-heads-minister-blasted-for-farmers-week-failure

46 Responses to “UPDATE: Gov't confirms VINO story of Farmers' Week cancellation”

  • NDP voter (14/01/2016, 12:20) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    what's new here the election is over we will come back again from 2018
    • HMPH (aka SoCal Comantatar) (14/01/2016, 14:30) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
      farmers trying to charge 5 dollar o banana - no surprising persons no go
  • SMH (14/01/2016, 12:20) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
    What a crying shame.
  • wow (14/01/2016, 12:21) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
    The deputy can't move without the head, and that extends all the way up to the Ministry.
  • No Worries (14/01/2016, 12:22) Like (38) Dislike (3) Reply
    The NDP can do anything to the BVI people and get away with it. As a matter of fact the worse they do the more the masses love them.
  • Truth (14/01/2016, 12:27) Like (46) Dislike (3) Reply
    The NDP has killed every local tradition we are use too…between Myron, Mark and Kedrick god see for us all!
    • @ truth (14/01/2016, 12:44) Like (33) Dislike (5) Reply
      Good for ayo tek dat when you elect ah set of island men and who from here got island women wives you know whose interest dem looking out for ova & out!
    • concern (14/01/2016, 13:43) Like (23) Dislike (7) Reply
      no they haven't killed every tradition. We the people stop support our own local tradition on every season and event as they occur. So if people not attending then there no need after a while to keep the traditions alive as it the vendors and all involve is who loses their money and time.
  • wize up (14/01/2016, 12:36) Like (63) Dislike (0) Reply
    no exhibition after all these years; no supplies for schools; no money for local bands yet millions for the airline.... is it me or most things associated with the people of the territory can not secure funding ( I am just asking because I do not know )
  • HAHAT (14/01/2016, 12:45) Like (27) Dislike (2) Reply
    The minister is sleeping because he do not know that the agriculture department move and set up house some place else doing landscaping and farming with the ///// if you go to the agriculture there is nothing there it is a waste of tax payers money not even seeds you cannot get there years ago you go to the old agriculture department you get fresh vegetables slips and seeds now we have more money to spend and things are worst plus they have security guards I really do not know what they are guarding. This department need closing down until they get some one who really know what they are doing.
    • VG (20/01/2016, 04:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      True, it was a pleasure to buy seedlings in Virgin Gorda, but this has completely stopped. WHY?
  • Yes (14/01/2016, 12:47) Like (20) Dislike (1) Reply
    The airport too small for the farmers to land so when it is expanded farmers week will come back.
  • Bernie Sanders (14/01/2016, 13:01) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    OMG!!! We got what the duck got again ....Feel THE BERN....Every thing this government touch they Fing up and the Premier and Governor think it's Government in the Sunshine,and we are Government in a God damn Hurricane,,,It's 2016 and we are worst off in this place...
  • Big Sin (14/01/2016, 13:05) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is a sin. This should be a crime. This minister need to relinquished labour and Agriculture. I'm surprise one of these junior ministers didn't given the responsibility of agriculture. I truly think Argie would have done a good job in agriculture..
  • SMH (14/01/2016, 13:10) Like (39) Dislike (2) Reply
    Pure crap. Why don't the government get rid of the problem and stop blaming this on the beautiful butterflies? I never heard more nonsense.
  • bvi (14/01/2016, 13:16) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    Only in the BVI. In other country. This minister would be ask to resigned...
  • Bernie Sanders (14/01/2016, 13:40) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    Dr Smith a Political Revolution is coming examine your Horns Shuffle your cabinet,can't you see your ship going down fast...
    • wize up (14/01/2016, 15:20) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
      @ Bernie Sanders; Dr know that he has a faithful and loyal group, no need to shuffle the cabnet!...
  • :/ (14/01/2016, 14:11) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hang on, so now they blaming the poor lil butterflies for the exhibition not going forward this yr? KML! oh my heavenly father I can't deal, not today
  • Momories (14/01/2016, 14:51) Like (31) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is really happening? Evevry thing cultural in this Territory is going down the tubes. I have fond memories of Farmer's Week , family gatherings at Paraquita Bay, of fungi music, local drinks and food, Virgin Islanders returning year after year to enjoy the ambiance, some coming over from the USVI. I remember going from stall to stall staring in awe at the different animals, some that were not too common to these parts. I remember the over grown crops with Famers proudly displaying their winning ribbons. I have fond memories of children running back and forth, their faces colored by cotton candy. I remember ladies in colorful hats and dresses..even the elderly, some saved their ebbing strengh all year, just to make it to "Farmers Week". It was "the thing" to look forward to after Christmas. Farmers week was for everyone Natives, visitors, residents from our Caribbean Islands. Now all I have are memories. I feel like an Inca.... a lost culture.
  • Words. (14/01/2016, 14:59) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    Everybody says give them a second term to finish what they start. Yea. Really. This is for all those who begged for them to get a second term.. This term is much was than their first.. Then they are going to ask for a third. Lol.
  • BUTTERFLY (14/01/2016, 15:05) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dont blame my beautiful self. It's the caterpillars that destroying the crops. Lmao
  • work 4u pay (14/01/2016, 15:06) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    We have have a five Premier government. No real leader..The Governor is laughing at us.. To hell. He is living in Heaven..People make things happened. Its obvious these people are not working..
  • mixed feelings (14/01/2016, 16:03) Like (4) Dislike (24) Reply
    90% of ayo talking don't even go to support. Ayo just taking this opportunity to bash the winning elected gov party that beat yours.
  • Bernie Sanders (14/01/2016, 16:04) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Imagine 10 million for Green Houses and you cant even eat Tomatoes without dressing lol lol lol all the way Santa Domingo..The struggle is real people we need serious help ,for a country that spends US $$ we living like we are in Haiti.All the Minister is doing is running behind SIR Richard and JOHNSON ,don't forget he said "He BORN BROKE BUT HE AIN't GOING TO DEATH BROKE" SO LET's REMEMBER ..FEEL THE BERN....
  • Lord o (14/01/2016, 19:02) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    What's the situation with the 2 million dollar sleeping green houses when are they going to put to work? This whole department of non action and excuses need replacing
  • NDP youth (14/01/2016, 21:14) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    who cares about deeds farmers we still have to import everything anyway
  • E. Leonard (14/01/2016, 22:09) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    At a period of our history up to the mid 60s, subsistence agriculture was our primary means of eeking out a living. With the the transition to services, coupled with the passing of older farmers, lost of arable land for housing and other uses, and lack of current generation's interest in farming, agricultural production decreased. Nonetheless, though the lack of arable land, along with other factors, does not permit agriculture to become a major leg on the economic stool, there some benefits to maximizing agricultural output.

    These benefits include 1)boosting food security, 2)reducing dependence on food import, 3)accessing more readily organic food, 4)creating employment, 5)increasing local spending(enhancing economic multiplier), 6)enhancing nutrition......etc. As such, cancelling Farmers Week Exhibition misses the opportunity to promote farming and show casing local farm products. Moreover, more effort should be exerted to the maximum extent practical to link the agricultural industry with the tourism industry, i.e., eggs, vegetables, fruits, pork products, fish.....etc.
    • Political Observer (15/01/2016, 10:48) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      Excellent summation. To your reasons for diminished agricultural production, I will add scanty rainfall and lack of water for properly irrigating crops. Though the BVI cannot be self sufficient in food production, it can and should take advantage of benefits noted above by Leonard. What is the status of the green houses? $MMM of dollars of taxpayer money was invested in them. The taxpayer needs to realize some benefits and return of their investment. Either fish or cut bait. Enough of the delay already. Poor participation in last year's exhibition and this year's cancellation. Is something rotten in Denmark?
      • nonsense (04/02/2016, 14:36) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        You all know full well the reasons these things are no longer successful is because most locals don't give a shit about anything except fast money. Nobody wants to be real about anything.
  • farmer brown (14/01/2016, 23:27) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    This product call Farmer's Week is certainly still popular in my neck of the woods.
  • WTF (18/01/2016, 12:24) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    NDP government killed Music Fest, Festival and the Agriculture Fair. Bam.
  • Dab (04/02/2016, 14:03) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    NDP all the way = ??????
  • BuzzBvi (04/02/2016, 14:32) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    No more Greenhouses and Farmers Week.
    It's official. The touted 3rd pier of the economy is dead.
    Financial Services next.
    Then tourism if they do actually go ahead on destroy it with the airport project.
    Thank goodness we have the 4th pillar to live on . Pot Fish.
    We gonna be rich!!!!
    • affected (05/02/2016, 07:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      To BUZZBVI pot fish is joke .Dr Done deal dun sa he must get rid o ALL fish pots in bvi So u kno bvi will go from riches to rags , thankz to a few bull headed ppl in power
  • Bernie Sanders (04/02/2016, 14:34) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is government in the Sunshine alright..Government of Disaster...Wow.. Feel the Bern....The political revolution is on ,I am leading the charge..Email me at www.feelthebern.com for more info about the change that is coming..
  • affected (04/02/2016, 18:36) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    When NDP Ms P said " our ppl dont appreciate from whence we came " You know it was Dr P she was refering to . I mean dat man KILL AGRICULTURE. DEDD. DEDD!! His personal comments /actions / lack of action
  • joe joe (04/02/2016, 23:19) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    A knowledgeable and respectful Governoment would have known this and put plans in place to support their famers
  • long look (05/02/2016, 02:41) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply

    THAT CH**F ONLY WANT TO USE TAX PAYERS MONEY TO FENCE HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS PROPERTY

  • Gross failure. (05/02/2016, 03:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is unacceptable. There must be consequences. From the minister down..its time people start to make thiings happened for their pay..
  • WTF (08/02/2016, 11:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    From the time Music Fest was cancelled, it stayed cancelled never came back. Fungi Fest cancelled, now Agriculture Fair cancelled. Trust me, you will never see another Agriculture Fair Paraquita Bay. NDP has RUINED the BVI.


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