NDP Leader Accuses The Caribbean Of Turning Its Back On Agriculture

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Amid concerns regarding food security in the Caribbean, the leader of Saint Lucia’s National Green Party (NGP) has accused the region of turning its back on agriculture.

“Now it has come back to bite them,” Andre de Caires told St Lucia Times.

The NGP leader expressed that it’s late for the region to be promoting self-sufficiency in food due to supply challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The full-time farmer by profession recalled growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, where farmers used to produce all the vegetables.

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But de Caires lamented that arable lands had been lost and converted to commercial use.

“As the population is growing we are actually losing arable land that our generations to come will need to feed themselves. So the whole region has turned its back on agriculture and I believe that is a colonial rejection of working in the fields,” the NGP leader observed.

He noted that enslaved people and indentured labourers came to the Caribbean to work in the fields.

The NGP leader told St Lucia Times that, as a result, people look down on agriculture as a means to support themselves.

In this regard, the de Caires asserted that many neo-colonialist leaders with their neo-colonialist attitudes want to move away from the slavery mentality and make forays into tourism and industry.

“Nobody wants to be a farmer. We’re on the lowest peg of the social ladder and now it has come back to bite us because now we are beginning to appreciate how important it is to feed ourselves,” the NGP leader declared.

And pointing to the independent Caribbean countries, de Caires asserted that an inability to feed oneself could not constitute true independence.

“True independence is food independence,” he told St Lucia Times, noting that his party has been voicing that position since the 2011 election.

However, he said administrations in the Caribbean have not focused on food security.

“Now the horse is out of the stable, how are we get it back?” the NGP leader stated.

He said backyard gardens, recently promoted by Agriculture Minister Alfred Prospere, are a means to help people feed themselves.

Nevertheless, de Caires expressed that it will take a lot of administration and planning to get Saint Lucia to where agriculture will pay, and people can feed themselves.

“But we can’t just be doing talk shops. We must have an implementation phase where we get it off the ground – land prepared, drainage done, irrigation set up, , marketing set up, post-harvest activities, adding shelf life and value. We need to have every link in the chain so we do not starve to death,” the NGP leader told St Lucia Times.

(Story updated to correct typos in the spelling of the name of the NGP leader)

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

10 COMMENTS

  1. KDA this and that. Who really pushed tourism to the max. Which leader past or present own hotels or were cozy with hotel owners ? Which leader gave land and the most concessions to hoteliers?

  2. This makes perfect sense. We cannot eat the visitors 😁
    But we can require the hotels to buy from local farmers. This will create a large market and perhaps once successful it will not be looked down upon.
    It is in fact a most honorable profession to grow good food for people. Not GMO, Bill Gates style, but nutritious organic fruits and vegetables for the people and the visitors.

  3. I begged to differ about the generalization of Caricom because Caricom is not a country it is made up of numbers countries and islands. That being said the populace should focus on there home soil because it is happening right under your nose. Again if a country refuse to focused on agriculture and manufacturing it’s bound to become a fail State

  4. I guess my comments are still in moderation!

    Three different spellings of De Cares / De Caires/ De Caries in this article. Which is the correct one?

  5. Again, I will repeat that when KDA decreed that “Tourism will replace Agriculture” as our main industry – I thought he was crazy to even think that!!! Here it is now – and I am in total agreement with deCaires – this has come back to bite us in the ass!!!

    Agriculture is, and should be, a very VITAL industry in our everyday lives, not only for food, but for our well being, medicines, housing, clothing, condiments. SLU is importing a lot of goods which could be produced and industrialised right here.

    In the same breath I say, the USA, EU and Canada are all AGRICULTURALLY based!! They are the “breadbaskets” for the globe!! While we in the Caribbean are their “playgrounds” who look to them to feed us!

    It had to take a global event for the “myopic misfits” to SEE how important agriculture really is. Shame on KDA and his party.

    • @LAB, because KDA made that comment, it was not meant to be taken as gospel truth or accept it.

      I will keep saying it, we cannot and should not depend on Politicians because we will not go any further than where we are. 2 steps forward and 10 steps back.

      @ St. Lucia Times, You guys have three different spellings in your article for De Caires or De Caries or De Cares. Which one is it? Attention to detail!!

      Clearly we are being let down but it is never too late because we are not the last ones and it should not stop with us, our generations after us will need to learn how to work the land if they are to survive such trials and tribulations.

  6. As a constant “poster” on here … For the first time I am in agreement with De Caires. I have said it over and over, that Agriculture should be the backbone of our economy – one cannot go wrong with that!

    Agriculture can open a multitude of doors in industries, not only for food, but for medicines our wellbeing, housing, clothing – you name it, you touch it – it comes from agriculture! (Except metals).

    CARICOM should know that the USA, Canada and Europe’s main industry is AGRICULTURE … and they want to treat the Caribbean as their “playground” !

    I knew SLU was doomed when KDA said in 1997, that tourism will be our main “industry”!! I was shocked and wondered if he was crazy! Now I know he is crazy.

  7. Caricom governments are being paid to deliberately ruin the agricultural sector! Once the task is completed, their bribers, Big Agro, will swoop in to buy up all the agricultural land for pennies on the dollar; with which they will plant GMO crops that will generate profits in perpetuity. This is just a continuation of the full domination of agricultural lands for the cultivation of single-crops, e.g., bananas-Geest; only this time it will be single-patent, soy-Monsanto!

  8. Very true. All emphasis is on tourism and very soon it seems like terrorism and war will put and end to tourism. How then would we be able to sustain our economy?

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