President of the New Democratic Party and Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday has visited farmers across St. Vincent and the vegetable markets in Kingstown to highlight the importance of the agricultural sector as a pillar of the economy.
The NDP said in a press statement that the visit comes following Friday’s speech at the NDP Hope Rally, “in which he offered hope building an economy that will create more and better jobs”.
The party said that the economic plan is centred on four pillars — agriculture, tourism, the blue economy and “the new economy”.
Friday and other members of the NDP will be making a number of visits to farmers to listen to them and discuss the challenges they face, the party said.
As part of Friday’s plan to make agriculture a pillar of the economy, the NDP said it will boost investment in the sector and create much-needed jobs for people across the country.
The plan to rebuild agriculture includes developing a cooperative system to help farmers purchase inputs at lower cost; providing financing for new equipment to make farmers more productive; focusing on developing high-value crops; increasing domestic markets by encouraging hotels to buy local produce; zero tolerance for praedial larceny; developing the agro processing sector with a focus on overseas markets ensuring there are sustainable export markets abroad; assisting farmers to engage in organic farming to fetch higher prices for their produce; and developing a marketing agency to market farm produce.
“Our agricultural plan will ensure that there is a sustainable and efficient food security system, which will be geared towards a significant reduction in our food import bill,” the NDP said in a press statement.
Friday said: “Under an NDP Government, agriculture will play a vital part in growing our economy. Agriculture Is part of our brighter future.”
Senator Israel Bruce, the NDP’s shadow minister for agriculture said: “Agriculture is a key part of the NDP’s plan to build the economy by getting more goods to markets and increasing exports. This will create several jobs, directly and indirectly.”
The NDP said it is committed to reversing growing unemployment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by providing the skills and opportunities young people need to thrive here.