Workers prepare dasheen for export. (Photo: Agricultureinfocus SVG/Facebook)

Farmers will soon start to be paid per pound — and not per sack — for their agricultural produce, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said on Wednesday.

He said that is one of several issues that farmers and other traders in agricultural goods from St. Vincent and the Grenadines have waited a long time to have addressed.

“So that you get your exact weight. And we know that it (paying per sack) has been a tradition, but I am working toward embracing the new dispensation of purchasing,” he told an event on Wednesday regarding a regional shipping initiative for agricultural produce.

“Trust and honesty is important — not only the side of the purchasers to pay on time and to ensure that the pricing is coated and covered in equity, but the farmers, also, must ensure that you don’t harvest before your produce is ready for the marketplace just because you’re hearing that a good price is available now because the spoilage on the supermarket shelf, it is going to create a backlash for the purchasers, and it is going to pass all the way down the way,” Caesar said.

“I have great confidence in the farmers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the farmers in the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States), the other OECS islands, who will be joining this platform very soon,” he said of the shipping initiative, which has support of the OECS Commission.

Caesar said farmers are living in the age of diversification. There is a market in the region for bananas and plantains, he said, but added, “… the vagaries of climate change, which is upon us, is forcing us to create certain strategies of adaptation and mitigation and it would lead us down a particular path where we have to embrace other commodities as important means of production.”

He said the discussion has already started for the production of coffee, adding that chocolate production is expanding and that this year, the St. Vincent Chocolate Company will begin producing milk chocolate to join the dark chocolate it began producing last year.

In 2017, the minister of agriculture from Prince Edward Island will visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines to continue discussion about embryo transfer in cattle, said Caesar, who recently visited the island, one of eastern Canada’s maritime provinces

He said his ministry is also holding discussions with the government of Cuba specifically regarding artificial insemination.

2 replies on “Purchasers to begin paying per pound for agricultural produce”

  1. I believe that’s a very good move and is consistent with international practice instead of by the bag. When farmers sell their produces by the sack and they are exported to places like the United States, they are then sold by the pound. Therefore, it is just fair that you pay the farmers by the pound as well. This is a good thing for the farmers.

  2. Strange… My experience with farming tells me we have already been being paid by the pound…although the sack must be filled. I do not know how this will drastically change things. The problem is that the department of agriculture pays people to go out and see how much crop, such as Ginger, is being planted. The info is sent to Trinidad and Trinidad can then say that they will only pay 1 dollar a pound this year although it was 10 dollars last year. because of that many farmers actually lose money, figuring the cost of labor and fertilizer! One week the price may be 1 dollar a pound and the next week 10 dollars. Because we pay people to see how much is being planted, you can say we pay for our own losses twice.

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