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The government has allocated EC$426,000 for distribution among 242 arrowroot farmers as income support.

Each farmer will get one-quarter of the amount they earned from their crop before the April 2001 eruption of La Soufriere volcano, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said Wednesday.

‘When they didn’t harvest their rhizomes because of Soufriere, we did a half payment and we did a quarter payment in two successive years,” the prime minister said. 

“Well this is to provide income support for them — these are farmers who are now delayed because the arrowroot factory had been destroyed. And we are in the process of building the other one.”

He said the crop is some of the farmers’ principal source of income. 

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He said Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar has been busy with a US$10 million food security project financed by the World Bank. 

“We got it and put it under the UBEC. That is the blue economy project. It’s not really so much blue economy, this agriculture one, but there is a fishing component,” the prime minister said. 

“But it was the easiest place to put it ourselves and the World Bank to get quick disbursement rather than starting another project and so on.”

Gonsalves said the project has a crop and home garden component involving production implements, irrigation greenhouses, cool chain equipment and planting materials.

“There’s a livestock component with breeding stock and day-old chicks, artificial insemination for cattle, pigs and goats and production kits,” Gonsales said.

“There’s a fisheries component with fish aggregating devices, the FADs, with training with cool chain equipment and boat retrofitting. And then there are some general items, training programs, some office equipment and a bus for the use of training to transport people and so forth.”

He said Caesar had given him an update about a week earlier.  

“He sent me a summary update of the implementation activities so that I could keep an eye on what is happening and to see where there’s any slippage to say, ‘Well, brethren, why we slipping there?’ 

“Well, that’s part of my role. I have to coordinate — but he’s doing a splendid job with this and sometimes the Ministry of Agriculture,” the prime minister said. 

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