CARICOM Today:– An urgent call is being made to farmers, fishers and food producers in the Region to become vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Hon. Saboto Caesar, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said Monday that the pandemic presented a “clear and present danger to food security in the Region” should the high rate of the unvaccinated continue among the farmers and fishers.
He said workers in the agriculture sector were particularly vulnerable given the fact that CARICOM had a population of aging farmers, with the average being over 50 years old.
This week, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will launch a national drive to encourage all stakeholders in the agriculture and fisheries sectors to participate in the national vaccination campaign advanced by the country’s Ministry of Health.
Minister Caesar noted that “our workforce of farmers and fishers, if overrun by covid-19, may well be the greatest threat to food sovereignty and security in the history of our country.”
The Minister further encouraged all farmers and fishers to “report to national duty” by ensuring that, as vital development partners, they use every opportunity to be vaccinated soonest.
Minister Caesar said that most of the services at his Ministry are “on pause” and that the drive from the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to include a heavy presence in many rural farming and fishing communities. At these sessions, information concerning vaccination will be provided, and access to medical practitioners will be provided to stakeholders who may wish to do a private consultation prior to taking the vaccine.
The initiative will be supported by local clinics which are equipped to administer vaccines to Vincentians.
This exercise by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, comes at a time when the island is witnessing a significant daily increase in the number of covid-19 positive cases.
Headline photo: Stock image