Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Natalio Wheatley has officially opened Farmers and Fishers Week, 2022 and he is calling on the people of the territory to support the activities this week and join the movement to support the farmers and fisherfolks.
In his address last evening, Dr Wheatley noted the celebration will be held under the theme, “Rise- A Time for Action, Inspiration and Impact” and it is guided by the principle that everyone must work together to inspire action and make the greatest impact.
“There is no need for me to emphasise how important it is for Virgin Islanders to be more self-sufficient. It is clear how easily we are affected by what takes place beyond our borders, as we import the majority of what we consume,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Minister noted it is clear the territory cannot control or influence outside changes, but efforts must be placed on internal growth while building healthy partnerships with those in the region and internationally.
“Careful investment and support for developing our local farming and fishing industries are necessary to build and further develop a well-structured, resilient and accountable food system in the Virgin Islands
,” Dr Wheatley stated.
“As our population increases and our health, social and economic challenges become more complex, we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone is able to access healthy, life-giving food and fishers and farmers are able to build profitable industries that support them and their families, while contributing to our local economy,” the minister continued.
He said it is essential that residents have access to healthy foods as it breeds a healthy Virgin Islands.
Dr Wheatley said people must recognise a healthy and diverse resource base is also essential to the farming and fishing industry.
“Healthy, rich soils free of harmful chemicals and vibrant disease-free marine ecosystems supported by our collective consciousness of careful use of our natural resources will ensure that these industries grow and thrive,” he noted.
“During our celebration of farmers and fishers this week, we hope to be able to emphasise the need to build the agriculture and fisheries industries together. As we showcase the hard work of our farmers and fishers, we hope to inspire others to join the movement toward a more self-sufficient Virgin Islands We look forward to your full support of our week-long activities on all four of the major islands – from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke,” the Agriculture Minister added.
This year’s Farmers and Fishers week has a lot in store for both farmers, fisherfolks and patrons. On Tuesday, the Virgin Gorda Agriculture and Fisheries Station will be dedicated.
On Wednesday, there will be an agricultural hike to Aukie’s Farm, a previous ‘Champion Farmer’ in Carrot Bay. There will also be a groundbreaking ceremony for a poultry facility at the Claudia Creque Educational Centre in Anegada.
The week will conclude on Saturday, April 2 with the Market and Exhibition Day at Paraquita Bay.
“In addition to the various stalls showcasing local produce, fish, preserves, pastries, crafts, and other items, we have many activities lined up. A peas soup competition, VI style, local fruit juice competitions, donkey cart ride, greased pig competition are among some of the day’s highlights,” Dr Wheatley said.