The New Democratic Party (NDP) believes that in order to develop St. Vincent and the
Grenadines we must have a vibrant economy. We have identified agriculture as a key pillar,
which will build the economy and create more and better-paid jobs for the people.
The Unity Labour Party (ULP) government has presided over the decline of the agricultural
sector. The deplorable condition of feeder roads, lack of market for agriculture produce, meagre
allocation of funds of the national budget to the agricultural sector and negative statements from
officials of the ULP such as ‘agriculture is a thing of the past’ have all contributed to the decline
of the agricultural sector.
Agriculture once contributed over twenty percent of the Gross Domestic Product, now it is less
than three percent. Our balance of trade in agriculture is the worst it has ever been. While many
key crops are in decline, many farms that were once productive are now unproductive. Further,
there has not been an agriculture census for over twenty five (25) years, so the ULP government
does not know where our farmers are, what they are growing, how they can help them improve
their yields, or even what land is available. After twenty three (23) years in power, they are now
promising to do an agricultural census.
Moreover, the ULP government has failed to effectively implement the Banana Accompanying
Measures (BAM) program. The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines received over $37
million from the European Union to assist in the diversification of agriculture after the removal
of preferential treatment of bananas. The overall objective of the BAM program was to reduce
the levels of poverty in St Vincent and the Grenadines through increased production, investment,
exports and employment in the agricultural sector. Was that achieved? Instead, there was a
significant increase in poverty. The poverty report which the government has refused to publish
showed that poverty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is worse than when the ULP gained
power in 2001. It stated that poverty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines had moved from 30.2%
of the population in 2008 to 36.1 % in 2018. And the indigence level had moved from 2.9% to
11.3% in the country of 110,000 people.)
Also, the following projects were to be implemented through the BAM program: the construction
of an abattoir, the building of a greenhouse park at Montreal, construction of a probiotics lab at
Rabacca and the renovation of the Langley Park Palletization Centre. Were those projects
implemented? They may argue that the green house park at Montreal was completed. But, is it
functioning? It is a shame to see the condition of the green house park at Montreal as they exist.
Undoubtedly, the ULP does have not plan for the development of the agricultural sector.
The NDP has a plan to develop the agricultural sector. We will reverse the deteriorating situation
in agriculture by revitalizing the sector, making it efficient, technologically prepared and
internationally competitive. This will guarantee the food and nutrition security of our people and
at the same time provide employment, income and sustainable livelihoods, while preserving the
environment for present and future generations.
The overall goal of the NDP’s National Agricultural Policy will be to optimize and maximize our
capacity to provide for our food needs. This will be done through increasing production of a
range of crops and livestock species. This will ensure a sustainable and efficient food security
system that is technologically driven. Food security will be a priority. This is necessary to reduce
our food import bill, encourage healthier eating and support local farmers and our plan for agro-
Under the previous NDP administration, we had proper marketing boards so that our farmers
could be farmers focusing on what they do well we will reintroduce the marketing boards. This
means that marketing produce, getting the best price and best transport will no longer be the
individual farmer’s responsibility. They will be structured in a co-operative model to ensure that
our farmers keep the proceeds, meaning more money in their hands
Livestock is a key part of farming in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A substantive amount of
root crop, vegetable and tree crop farmers own livestock. The NDP will support efforts to
improve the health and productivity of livestock, particularly chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and
cattle by improving animal genetics and veterinary care.
Praedial larceny has become a major problem in the country, and the government is clueless as to
how to tackle the problem. We will adopt a zero tolerance approach to praedial larceny. Our
zero-tolerance approach to combat praedial larceny will include a system where special hearings
will be held to deal swiftly with crimes of praedial larceny. We will also ensure that a system is
in place to compensate farmers for their losses, within a reasonable time.
Feeder roads are essential to improve farmers’ productivity and to access markets. We will
upgrade existing roads across our farming communities and build new feeder roads to access
more lands. The multiplier effects of feeder roads can never be overstated as access to and from
the farm is of paramount importance. We cannot support our farmers if we cannot reach them, or
they cannot get their goods easily to market. And, establish a marketing agency to assist in the
marketing of farm produce.
We will also support agro-processing to add value to our farm produce, which will create new
jobs, Construct a processing plant and modernizing the agro lab.
The NDP is committed to developing agriculture, which is one of the four pillars of the
economy. The others are tourism, the blue economy and the new economy. The development of
these sectors will bring tremendous economic benefit to the country and create more and better-
paid jobs for Vincentians.