Public consultations on the establishment of Greenhouse Parks for improved vegetable production begin next week in the three targeted areas of the country.

Government has selected Mc Millan in the Montreal area, Dandrade in Orange Hill, and Richmond in North Leeward to establish the parks. This, under the Fruit and Vegetable component of the Banana Accompanying Measures BAM, a European Union funded programme to modernize and develop the agricultural sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Ministry of Agriculture officials will update residents, and solicit feedback and advice on the parks project. The meetings will be held on Monday at the Richland Park Government School, Tuesday at LESCO, and Wednesday at the North Leeward Learning Resource Centre.

Greenhouse Parks are expected to reduce the climate based seasonality of local vegetable production and supply. Farmers will be expected to supply more consistent quantity and quality, and thus secure better marketing arrangements especially with major local and overseas buyers. The project will also reduce imports, estimated at about EC$16.86 million between 2006 and 2010.

The Ministry will lead the process by establishing a pilot park with 15 greenhouses. Farmers, through cooperatives, will then develop and operate parks with up to 25 greenhouses, all at high altitudes for natural cooling, and equipped with solar and irrigation facilities.

Besides transforming the fruit and vegetable sector, the BAM also has components for reviving bananas, expanding and improving the quality of the livestock sector, developing effective marketing strategies, and engaging more youths in agriculture.