More than two hundred Arrowroot farmers from North Windward received financial assistance valued at approximately one million dollars.
This assistance is given to farmers who suffered because of the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano which interrupted farming, harvesting, the production and post production of the arrowroot and its by-products.
During a short ceremony for the handing out of the monies, Minister of Agriculture the Hon. Saboto Caesar said that a document was drafted to be taken to cabinet for approval of the payments to be made which was immediately approved by Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves and Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Minister Caesar says the arrowroot industry is important to this country and critical to the people of North Windward. He assured the farmers of governments’ commitment to ensuring the survival of the arrowroot industry. He noted that no arrowroot was purchased from farmers for this year, hence the incentive to assist the farmers.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Representative for North Windward the Hon. Montgomery Daniel says he is extremely happy to be with the farmers as he has walked the same road they have and understands the struggle.
He noted the present situation and improvement in the industry and thanked the Minister of Agriculture for his hard work on behalf of different sectors of farming and fisherfolk in SVG.
He says the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano happened at the heart of the harvesting season of arrowroot, some farmers had already harvested and others had not, consequently not all would have collected monies. Government therefore made the decision for all farmers to be paid; hence a payment structure was established for payments to be made in 2021.
The situation in 2022 therefore, is about offering some level of compensation to farmers for their crops as they are still unable to produce and harvest arrowroot, while the community is still recovering from the effects of the eruption.
Minister Daniel has promised to continue to fight for every farmer who remains in arrowroot production.