Food exports from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) increased during the first month of 2022, signalling an evident recovery in the agriculture sector, following the severe impact of La Soufriére volcano eruptions in 2021.
A total of 516,753 kilos of agricultural and fisheries products valuing EC$1,301,317 were sold by the island nation to 13 countries in January, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour.
The US was the main destination for the country's exports in 2022, which represented a value of more than EC$300,000.
Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados followed in second and third place.
The other 10 export destinations were Anguilla, Bouvet Island, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, France, Great Britain, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Martin.
According to the ministry, interannual comparison revealed that in January there was a five per cent increase in the quantity of exported products, and a 38 per cent increase in value.
In total, there were 42 types of exported agricultural and fisheries products, including tubers, vegetables, fruit, spices and lobster.
The agriculture sector in the country is largely based of small, family farmers. The country has approximately 8,000 and 1,500 registered farmers and fisherfolk, respectively.
These people were severely impacted when La Soufriére erupted in April 2021, as many farmers lost crops due to the ashfall on their land, compelling the Government to declare a food security emergency.
The natural disaster forced the evacuation of some 30,000 people from their homes, most of them farmers, given that the majority of the land adjoining the volcano is used for agricultural production.
During that time, the Government gave economic assistance to small farmers and hired tractors to plow the land to enable crops to be sown again.
Additionally, the country received the support and solidarity of organisations and governments from the Americas and other parts of the world.
Chiefly among them, Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar recognised the importance of the support of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to rapidly revive production and guarantee food security.
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