The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) candidate for Babonneau is urging the government to make farmers a priority.
Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte issued a statement on Tuesday.
She observed that because of COVID-19, several people are not working and are turning to farming.
However, she asserted that they are not getting the support they need.
“I believe the time has come when we need to put farmers on the front burner,” the SLP candidate declared.
“They have to be the ones to lead the charge to save the economy, to look after food security, to create income for our people and employment,” she stated.
“For this I say we will continue to agitate, we will continue to lobby, we will continue fight so that farmers can get their right place in society,” she said.
Albert-Poyotte spoke while expressing concern over the plight of farmers in Babonneau.
But she made specific mention of farmers in the Marquis area.
And she described that community as ‘the bread basket’.
The SLP candidate said the farmers, with whom she had had several discussions, are crying for help.
She observed that road construction is ongoing in Marquis.
Albert-Poyotte said as a result, individuals have chopped down a number of mahogany trees.
She said the trees were there to save the environment.
“And there is talk around that that situation in Marquis may soon be something of the past, because that land in Marquis will be sold,” she stated,
Albert-Poyotte said the farmers told her that they are very worried about their future.
She said they also complained about dirt deposits in the Garrand area.
“That dirt is going right back into the river which actually caused the silting of the river,” the SLP candidate explained.
She said this will reduce the amount of water that farmers can access to irrigate their farms.
She questioned whether the Minister of Agriculture is aware of the situation.
The Minister, Ezechiel Joseph, is also the MP for Babonneau.
Albert-Poyotte asserted that Babonneau is a farming community.
She noted that the livelihood of the people depended for decades on farming.
But she lamented that they are now suffering.