The ongoing heat wave in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is affecting vegetable and egg production and could possibly lead to sizzling prices for those commodities at Christmas.
Addressing the World Food Day Rally in Kingstown, Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar noted how hot the day was.
“But this is the same heat, without a tent, that the farmers in Greiggs, the farmers in Lumber Heap, the farmers on the leeward side of the country and the fishermen on their boats are experiencing,” he said.
He said the National Emergency Management Organisation recently told him that SVG recorded one of its hottest days ever in 1979.
“But the longest hottest period that we have experienced is the period that we are experiencing now,” he said.
“And over the last three weeks, we are experiencing a heat wave and it is expected, I was advised, to last for the next two to three weeks,” Caesar said.
He said his ministry would be conducting an impact assessment as vegetable farmers are noting that come Christmas, because of the impact of the heat wave, “we are going to see a scarcity of vegetables on the market.
“And we have to say this now because preparing for 2024, it is the duty of the technicians, … we have to ensure that we have heat tolerant varieties of crops in our country so that we will be able, even though we are impacted by moments of extreme heat, that we can still ensure that we are supplying food for consumption,” Caesar said.
He said framers have also noted that there is a reduction in the production of eggs.
The minister noted the presence of the labour commissioner at the event.
“I had a conversation with her, because going forward, with this extreme heat, the farmers are saying that the workers are not willing to spend the time because they can’t work for the same duration of hours for the same money. So, we are currently experiencing significant issues that we are going to address,” the agriculture minister said.
There is a tendency for the price of eggs to increase in SVG at Christmas with the increased demand.