SVG Budget 2012

PM notes challenges to agriculture

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says the unavailability of a sufficiency of adequately productive labour on farms is “an intractable problem of which we must speak honestly” (Photo: Lennox Lampkin, via Facebook).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Despite incentives given to farmers by his Unity Labour Party, “immense challenges remain to lift a diversified agricultural sector,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said last week.

Gonsalves, in his Budget Address, listed among the “more important constraints” to diversified agriculture lack of cheap credit, praedial larceny, and the unavailability of adequate and productive labour.

He also said the sector was affected by unreliable markets and competitiveness in product quality and price, transportation difficulties by sea and air across the region and internationally, the poor condition of many feeder roads, and poor farm management.

Gonsalves said that his government has been paying attention to these challenges and “most farmers are trying their best to uplift their production, quality, and competitiveness”.

He, however, said that the unavailability of a sufficiency of adequately productive labour on farms is “an intractable problem of which we must speak honestly”.

Unless all stakeholders in agriculture “find ways to at least significantly resolve this conundrum on a timely basis, farms which require more than minimal family labour are not likely to be productive and competitive for the market,” Gonsalves said.

Small-scale, labour intensive agriculture find it difficult to attract labour at the offered wage rate in an economy, which is increasingly service-based, Gonsalves said.

He further said that status issues militate against agricultural field labour in societies that have only recently exited plantation agriculture and formal colonialism.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

“Simply put, many persons, especially those in the age group between 20 and 35 years, bluntly refuse to do agricultural work,” he said.

Most of these persons, Gonsalves told Parliament, prefer to await on part-time or seasonal intermittent work in the services sector or to be employed by government.

“On this bundle of issues, it serves no useful purpose to bemoan the subjective or objective factors which give rise to this ―labour challenge

“At the end of the day, a reasonably profitable farm will offer competitive wages; attitudes to farm labour must change; agricultural training for young persons and the availability of lands for them to work for themselves must be expanded; and the cultivation of crops with greater value and less labour intensity must be encouraged,” Gonsalves said.

“I have deliberately not addressed the lure for some whose preference is for a more rewarding, but high risk activity of cultivating marijuana. This, too, has to be continually tackled through a complex of ways, including a focussed programme of sustainable, alternative livelihoods and initiatives in the realm of national security,” added Gonsalves, who is Minister of National Security and Legal Affairs.

This year, the recurrent budget for Agriculture, excluding Forestry, Fisheries and the Soufriere Monitoring Unit is EC$14.4 million.

Agriculture last year declined by 15.2 per cent primarily due to the fall-out from Hurricane Tomas in October 2010, the April 2011 storm, and the black sigatoka disease, Gonsalves said.

The data for non-banana agriculture indicate a decline of 16.8 per cent and the production of fish declined by 3 per cent.

The performance in other economic sectors also registered negative growth: transportation by 1.1 per cent and financial intermediation by 2.1 per cent.

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16 thoughts on “PM notes challenges to agriculture

  1. Agriculture destroyed by the Unity Labour Party Government, now to be remodelled by people like ‘car rage and foot in mouth idiot boy’ . What chance do the farmers stand?

    And please farmers wives and daughters do not wear anything that will attract bees to the honeypot, by order of the deputy prime minister.


    Posted by Peter | January 15, 2012, 12:18
  2. This anti-Christ Marxist government has already brought a curse on the heads of the Vincentian people, wind, flood, disease in our agriculture. Lets hope that we will not be punished with the curse of fire and brimstone from an erupting Soufriere.

    Gonsalves continually mentions colonialism, well now we have experienced Marxism, we prefer the former.


    Posted by Peter | January 15, 2012, 12:27
  3. I am in agreement with the numerous challenges faced by the sector…
    – lack of adequate/reliable and equipped labour force,
    – lack of a level playing field particularly due to inequitable allocation of assistance,
    – non supportive fiscal measures including duties and 15% VAT on critical agricultural tools that can help to alleviate the problems of labour,
    – 15% VAT on local agro produce in our supermarkets,
    – lack of simple controls that could help in reducing praedial larceny,
    – lack of adequate policies on seeds and agricultural inputs at the central level (Ministry and plant protection),
    – poor feeder roads,
    – lack of an organized process of planning and purchasing at the rural level,
    – skewed value system of consumers particularly with respect to local fruits/poor prices for high quality local fruits!

    These factors make farming very unattractive for new and young entrepreneurs.

    Unfortunately… identifying these problems and doing nothing substantial to alleviate the problems is even worse that saying nothing…

    It makes absolutely no sense talking about export while we continue to import hundreds of millions in food while lands lie idly by and local food is not even demanded from caterers at government functions.. What message is the government then sending? Talk is CHEAP!!!

    Posted by Concerned Vincy | January 15, 2012, 19:00
  4. I am glad to know that the Prime Mimister of SVG, Dr Ralph Gonsalves realized in his own words “the poor conditions of many feeder roads” create a negative impact on agriculture production. But of course,farmers have to walk about 4 miles with loads on their head before reaching terminal sites is a big discouragement as opposed to if they had good road to drive their vehicles at least partially up the plantation sites.

    Ralph Gonsalves could have placed that unfinished cross country road on hold, the money he spend there should have been used to fix feeder roads. Even where some people live in SVG they can’t even get concrete or paved feeder road to their homes. The Govt is saying that they have more important thing to deal with like the ‘airport,cross country road and stadium.’Prime Minister Gonsalves should know that the three basic providing needs by any government are roads, water and light.

    Why don’t the Govt encourage the production of can juice ex (mango,coconut,carots,sweetsap,passsion fruits). All Govt do is to import every damm thing. So many products can be made in SVG. It may start on a local consumption scale at first but can end up to be on an exportabe scale later on.

    You can’t even get jucy in SVG any more only some kind of baby juice in some kind of baby bottle to cool you down in hot climate. It a shame.

    Why didn’t the Govt Spray the banana from the blacks Sigatoka. All that loans and grants Ralph Gonsalves is getting from the Arabs.

    Yes the young people between 20 -35 don’t want to be bothered with agriculture because govt is not making it attractive.


    Posted by Danniel8 | January 15, 2012, 19:35
  5. OLBAP, I hope you can now see the reason why I have to refer to these guys as RALPH HATERS. I promised to desist from such statement some days ago, but I have no alternative because I’m still see the HATE, so I guess it’s a matter of “WHO THE CAP FIT, LET THEM WEAR IT- R.N. Marley (Brother Bob).

    Posted by no-nonsense | January 16, 2012, 08:04
    • No- Nonsense, Thank you for your comment. This is a democracy. You have the right to label persons anything you want to label them. Make sure that what you do can be justified. If so, then there is nothing to worry about. However, you have to tolerate the fact that other have the right as well to strongly question what you say or do. So to help me to help me understand where you are coming from. Please define for us who is a “Ralph Hater”.

      What I have read afore is criticism of what has happened in the country resulting is our present circumstances. No Nonsense to speak out these thing is not hating the man “Ralph”. I believe that we all love this country. Each of us have our ideas of how it should be governed. If we elect a leader, and in our opinion, we see things are not going according to our view, it is perfectly health for us to say so. This is what is called democracy. To me you are confusing critism and personal hate. But, they are not the same. To point someone to what they have done wrong is not personal hate. So as I said before, If I understand what you mean by Ralph Hater, then I will be able to see and maybe identify with your lable. Peace Brother, and have a productive New year.

      Posted by Olbap | January 16, 2012, 12:03
  6. Well I learn in primary school in kingstown St Vincent that the main industry in Svg was agriculture and fishing and tourism was secondary. I guess those teachers who taught me were also Ralph Haters under Cato Govt. So I guess now the ULP Govt changes that information in the public schools by teaching children that tourism is now the Primary industry of SVG.
    Well SVG still has a lot way to go before they can make such a change
    1.Airport has to finish.
    2.At least 10 yrs before start talking profit.
    3.Bucca has to finish.
    4.St Vi

    ncent needs nightlife.

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 16, 2012, 09:48
    • This is the correct timing to begin teaching the children that “tourism is the primary industry of SVG”………It is call planning ahead.

      1. Airport in being worked on and is on the timetable for a 2014 completion.
      2. In business…..making profit will happen over time…….especially if the students today are being trained with the right focus for such industry…….it is a gradual adoption process.
      3.Bucca is being worked on.
      You are correct ……….. St Vincent needs nightlife and many other upgrades in preparation of the tourism industry.
      “Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.” — Marva Collins

      Posted by Vincy 2 D Heart | January 17, 2012, 11:14
  7. (continuation)
    4.St.Vincent need nightlife. Monday night to Thursday night the place like a ‘ghosttown’
    except for carnival times

    5.Tourist need nightlife too.

    So the Govt needs to still focus on encouraging what little they still have until they get what they don’t have.(That is basic common sense,you learn that at age 9 why you want change this idea now). I think that those people’who the cap fit let them wear’ has really did show any signs of being politically brain drain’

    Neut& inde

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 16, 2012, 10:05
  8. Dear Prof,

    You mention profit in ten years. is that in relation to the ‘Christian Blood Airport’ at Argyle?

    Just so as everyone understands, the airports is being built on lies and the blood of Christians.

    No airport in the Caribbean makes a net profit, all and everyone of them are subsidised by the relevant governments. Governments in some case’s pay airlines a head fee to fly tourists in. Is a very expensive business, running an airport, and even getting airlines to fly in is a difficult task. We must not be blinded by ULP lies and claims regarding arranged traffic for the new airport. No airline will commit itself until they see what the airport entails, and until the wind studies are completed. I can tell you from an experts mouth [not mine] that there will be up to six weeks in a year when the airport will be unusable, because of adverse wind and weather. Those six weeks will not be able to be pre forecast, and the unavailability for landing and taking off would not necessarily be known before and aircraft is due to land or take off. That makes the airport dangerous and unreliable. There could be occasions when aircraft will be unable to land, will need to divert to another airport. There could be times when aircraft will be unable to take off, that will cause all kinds of schedule difficulties. Airline staff may run out of work time available, and that could make a further delay whilst staff take statuary rest periods prior to take off.

    And besides all that, it will take SDVG a hundred years to pay off all the loans and debts attached to the airport. For many generations to come, their future will be marred in the memory of the Gonsalves folley, ‘The Christain Blood Airport’ [CBA].

    Gonsalves and his cousin ‘Francis of Idiot-land’ [an unelected and unelectable twerp] said that the airport will cost the tax payers nothing to build. They said when it is finished there will be no debt left for the tax payers. Both those statements are blatant lies.

    They said that the airport would be built and paid for by a coalition of the willing, another lie.
    Gonsalves said that the Cubans would be building an airport for us, and they were to be paid wages by the Venezuelans. I feel that was another bunch of lies. The Venezuelans now owe us $10 million for the Cuban wages and will not pay, they are part of the coalition of the unwilling. SVG have paid those wages, and it has been another nail in the coffin of bankruptcy for us.

    The Cubans are being paid 3 times the wages which is paid to Vincentians at the airport project. There is nothing at all that Vincentians couldn’t do with supervision by a specialist. All that money paid to impress Castro and satisfy the Marxist idealogical beliefs of Gonsalves.

    Remember when Cuba was damaged by hurricane Ivan we gave them a $50,000 dollar gift, and the public also made generous donations to help, VINLEC fwent and helped free of charge [not even paid wages by Cuba] with their downed cables and power outages. We have had three tragedies since then, what have they given us, ZILCH, NADA, NOTHING.

    And don’t forget that many of the land owners at Argyle, whose land was taken for the airport, have never been paid. Those people have been waiting for three years for money that is owed them. Some have already died broke and unable to get proper medical treatment because they have no money. They have not got the land to grow their crops and eke out a living. They do not have their money to invest or live on. This is another whole set of lies, starting with “we will buy your land from you”, they have not bought it, it has been stolen.
    What a national, regional and international disgrace. Is this the best that Marxism can give. Is this what ALBA brings to the table.

    Now we have established the some of the lies [just scraping the surface of lies told], lets look at the Christian Blood aspect of the airport.

    There are a number of countries who have abysmal human rights records. They persecute, execute, Christians and whole Christian communities. They do so because these people will not denounce their Christian religion. They are banned from worshipping Christ, even in their own homes. When caught, they are taken and tortured, prosecuted, imprisoned and in many cases executed.
    For these countries to protect themselves against an international backlash, they pay SVG money supposedly for the airport and our ambassador at the UN to vote with them, support them by voting in their favour or by abstaining on crucial votes.
    So you see we sell Christians for a few shekels to pay for the airport at Argyle, its their sacrificed blood that we are building an airport with, dirty money, cursed money.
    These are the reasons why the airport at Argyle is now called the ‘Christian Blood Airport’ [CBA].

    The actions of Gonsalves and his government have brought a pestilence on SVG, already we have seen the destruction of towns and villages by water and landslip, by wind and rain, disease and destruction of our agriculture. Lets all hope that fire from Soufere will not follow.

    Those of you in Diaspora who have supported this wicked Marxist regime, pray that God may forgive you. Its not you who are suffering, its us and your own old folk and family who must live here, trapped in poverty.


    Posted by Peter | January 17, 2012, 14:50
  9. Well, if this is Communism or a Marxist regime I prefer it than the NDP’s democratic government. I also believe that the majority of Vincentians love it, Even the RALPH HATERS!!! Remember HATERS hate you because they want to be like you but they can’t…lol…

    Posted by no-nonsense | January 17, 2012, 20:30
    • I also know that many of them were ULP looking for big jobs, but they saw some big NDP supporters promoted to the jobs, they got so mad with the Comrade, they joined the NDP hoping that if they get into power they will be rewarded. WHAT AH GREEDY BUNCH OF RALPH HATERS!!!!!

      Posted by no-nonsense | January 17, 2012, 20:43
  10. Miss Vincy 2 D heart I am quoting what you wrote: “This is the correct timing to begin teaching the children that tourism is the primary industry of SVG………It is call planning ahead” I am not going to disrespect your ideas in any form or ways but I am only going to corect you on your own quotation.

    1Tourism is NOT the primary industry of StVincent,so you can’t start teaching the children that in the class room. Eventhough we are optimistic,we never know what the ffuture holds.

    2.It will be more challenging to teach the children that Tourism is expected or will in the near future the primary industry in ST.Vincent. This is what you call {planning ahead}

    3.Ms Vincy 2 D heart I am quoting what you wrote again:”Once children learn how to learn nothing is going to narrow their minds” You are WRONG this is the stage when children minds get broader because their ideas are compiled with different information
    now. Children around this age group(able to learn how to learn) tends to quite generational learning and adapt to social,economical,political type of learning. No one is going to think for them including their parents) or to tell them what they should,because they will be able to analyse situation for themselvesw and that is the way
    children should grow up in a democratic society.

    Any you sounds like you are interesting in teaching
    Its a pleasure to respond to your thought


    Posted by Danniel8 | January 18, 2012, 01:07
  11. Peter I believe about 90% most of what you saying is true. Reasons why did people in North America,Canada and England heard the same information? We heard that Cuba and Venezuela were going to assist SVG with money and free workmenship to help with the airport. So just because you talk the truth makes you are a (RALPH HATER?) Such a shame.
    I will like every one to read my posts on the WATER BILL and let me see if they will call me a RALPH HATER too.
    I am plain an simply,advocating for the poor and suffering people in SVG. I am not into the party business right now. If the NDP party say or do something stupid I will comment
    on that too. What I will like to see is for Vincentians to get modernize, like for example Grenada and neayby Stlucia with modern philosophical and social ideas:
    Which is “stop adopting family voting traditions and vote from their own true perspective and reality which eventually promotes less suffering in the nation” (whether NDP or ULP)

    Sir it seems like Vincentians will be Vincentians any where they go. They will prefer to change their clothes,cars and shoes before their ZERO metentality. All I see here is that you talk about the things that you believe Gonsalves is doing wrong. Did you hear ‘no nonsense’ said she prefer a marxist regime or communism rather than an NDP Govt.
    So see now why some much ignorant crimes happen in SVG.

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 18, 2012, 02:17
    • DANNIELS, please don’t try to put a spin on my comment. I said “Well, if this is Communism or a Marxist regime I prefer it than the NDP’s democratic government”. The word ‘this’ clearly referred to the present political ideology of the ULP, of which you know as DEMOCRATIC.

      Posted by no-nonsense | January 18, 2012, 08:27
  12. Mr Nonsense(danniel#8) makes up my email address in order to send the post, please see my name(PRof-Dasilva) or Prof-Das) for short from dozens of response before as well as this one. Please use it in the future.
    Now as for your response I think that it is pointless and makes ‘NONSENSE’,Reasons:Peter said that ULP Govt is a communist and Marxist regime. Your response was “well if this is communist ……I prefer it than the NDP’s democratic Government”.

    Mr,I am not here to assume anything about Govt ideology,If you noticed all of my comments I based it on the information posted to my by I-witness news. It is the same way I based my comment on the information you wrote.

    You cannot make an asertion or assume that I profoundly know that the current ULP Govt idiology is democratic,time and season have changed so do groups and societies change from their norms. You have to allow me to tell you whether I think democratic principles are still in pratice in SVC. So Mr there was no changes to your statement,it was like A for apple and B for bat. Thankyou.

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 18, 2012, 10:24

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