KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A project will be implemented here within the next six months that hopes to make this country self-sufficient in poultry products and keep EC$23 million in the local economy annually.
Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said on radio on Tuesday that the National Poultry Project is part of a thrust to get Vincentians to consume more of what they produce.
“… There are so many things happening in the Ministry of Agriculture. It is exciting times in the Ministry of Agriculture and I really want Vincentians, everyone, every citizen to really join in the discussion because we all have a critical role to play if this industry is going to grow …” said Caesar, who was transferred from the Ministry of Tourism to the Ministry of Agriculture as part of a Cabinet reshuffle three weeks ago.
“I really want to see in the next three years we consume more of what we grow,” Caesar said, adding that “buy local … is almost a rhetoric that is burdensome on the ear.
“But if we do not secure our farmers by purchasing a lot of what they grow locally, then basically, it is really going to cut back on some of the significant profits we can make in the agricultural sector,” he further stated.
He spoke of a project in his South Windward constituency, where 300 chickens were distributed to six farmers, producing 1,500lbs of chicken in six weeks. The project earned each farmer EC$400 after the cost of feed and a new batch of chicken were deducted.
Caesar said that a few years ago, this country was self-sufficient in pork but because of the “roast pork revolution” local farmers are now unable to meet local demands, driving up the price of the meat.
Caesar was slated to meet on Tuesday with a consultant from Sainsbury, the third largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, to examine the possibility of this country exporting non-banana products to the United Kingdom.
“Banana is essential. You also have the poultry project and you also have the market for the value added at Vincyfresh,” he said.