Saint Lucia’s National Green Party (NGP) has applauded an agricultural exports initiative launched by Saint Lucia businessman Rayneau Gajadhar in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Rayneau Industries exported a container of vegetables and fruits from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United States Virgin Islands last week.
And Gajadhar told St Lucia Times that while the business could extend to the other Eastern Caribbean countries, Vincentian Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar had been the most passionate about the venture.
National Green Party leader Andre de Caires said the Gajadhar initiative was impressive.
But de Caires observed that Gajadhar had yet to launch it in Saint Lucia, which sorely needs it.
“I would encourage Rayneau to duplicate the Vincentian initiative here. ,” he asserted.
“The potential for this sort of initiative to work here is great, as our farmers are growing top-quality produce that would be in great demand by other regional territories that cannot grow because of natural geographical constraints. Those constraints are the availability of arable land, soil type, and water,” the NGP leader told St Lucia Times.
“The Marketing Board was the entity created in the fifties that was supposed to do just what Rayneau is doing: purchasing all the produce from farmers. It would then be up to the Marketing Board to get rid of that produce. The initial idea was great. But, unfortunately, the execution failed,” de Caires lamented.
“The fact that Rayneau mentioned grading is important, as C grade produce, that is produce not suitable for fresh market, will also be purchased and could be turned into value-added products like sauces, jams etc, which could create a cottage industry. In addition, rejected C-grade produce can be sold to pig farmers or turned into compost,” the NGP leader said.
He also observed that an ‘attractive’ feature of the Gajadhar initiative is paying farmers on delivery.
The NGP leader explained that the farmers need the cash to continue producing.
And de Caires stated that farmers traditionally would sometimes wait months to get their money.