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VG farmer calls for Gov't to address water woes

- says barely surviving from sale of produce on the streets
February 14th, 2014 | Tags: water woes Farmers 'Tomato Man' cost produce
Some of the displays at the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO.
Some of the displays at the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO.
Some of the displays at the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO.
Some of Tomato Man’s produce on display during the launch of agriculture week on the island of Virgin Gorda on Thursday February 13, 2014. He complained about the prohibitive cost of water on the island and wants Government to bring some measure of relief. Photo: VINO.
Some of Tomato Man’s produce on display during the launch of agriculture week on the island of Virgin Gorda on Thursday February 13, 2014. He complained about the prohibitive cost of water on the island and wants Government to bring some measure of relief. Photo: VINO.
There were displays of agriculture-themed drawings done by schoolchildren of Virgin Gorda yesterday February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO.
There were displays of agriculture-themed drawings done by schoolchildren of Virgin Gorda yesterday February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO.
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
Scene from the Virgin Gorda launch of agriculture week activities yesterday, February 13, 2014. Photo: VINO
VALLEY, Virgin Gorda, VI - One farmer on the island of Virgin Gorda is calling for Government to do more to help those who till the soil get relief from the high cost of water they have been enduring over the years and enjoy better returns.

The farmer who preferred not to be named told Virgin Islands News Online that his main problem is the prohibitive cost for water on the island.

“The main problem I have is the cost of water for farming. It is very high,” said the man who goes by the moniker ‘Tomato Man’ on the island.

He said it is very difficult to pay for the water to irrigate his two-acre farm on which he grows tomatoes, pumpkin and other produce.

Asked how he is able to survive given the tough conditions, he said, “Well I would take my stuff and sell on the streets and by that I pay bills and I might get a little thing to eat but not much...nothing much.”

He said that he has five persons dependent on him with a wife and four children and it is difficult to put food on the table. “Sometimes it could be really hard but I'm just surviving,” he said.

The man said that while he is not a member of any group that speaks on behalf of the farmers in Virgin Gorda, he is hoping that the authorities do something to alleviate the pressure these farmers face.

“I don't really know of any such group. All I know is that I'm doing farming for years now and I support agriculture week by coming here,” he told Virgin Islands News Online on the sidelines of the launch of agriculture week activities on the island of Virgin Gorda yesterday February 13, 2014.

The elderly man said he is trying to acquire more land from the authorities to expand with a view to earning more but this is proving difficult.

“I asked the government...I wrote into the government a few years ago asking for about three acres of land to plant trees and so on but up to now I have not received any response," the man said. “You are the first person to come and ask me anything about how I doing,” he told this reporter.

This news site brought this matter to the attention of Chief Agricultural Officer Bevin Braithwaithe who said that he could not speak at the time of the call and promised to return the call. Up to post time he did not return the call to this news site.

However Linette Rabsatt, acting Human Resources Manager in the Department of Agriculture in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, while speaking at Anegada’s launch of agriculture week of activities on Monday February 10, 2014, said the issue of water was one plaguing farmers on Anegada as well as on Jost van Dyke.

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