(By Robertson S. Henry) The recently held Training the Farmers workshop April 03 – 06, 2018 at the Sans Souci Learning Resource Centre, saw the organizing entity Acres Agri, investing over $30,000.00 on the program, which engaged 127 farmers and farm workers over the four-days of sessions on farming techniques and best practices.
A director of Acres Agri, when asked about the significance of the investment, pointed out that, “It is a sign of confidence in the potential of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines cannabis industry.”
He added that when the island’s government passes the expected legislation, Acres Agri will be there to partner with the farmers in this game-changing industry, for the economic benefits of all Vincentians.
“Definitely Acres Agri will be working exclusively with the local farmers and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to realise all of the employment opportunities that the industry would allow us to bring to St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the official stated.
There would be follow-up training for a specific number of farmers and or farm workers who did attend the initial workshop, “for training is and will be an ongoing exercise by Acres Agri.
“Career guidance and management within the industry is a key part of our outreach to specified individuals. We will be working closely with the government to offer outreach programs to young people and to local entrepreneurs.”
The director, who preferred to remain anonymous at present, admitted that many are yet to grasp the potential of the medicinal cannabis market. As a result, Acres Agri will seek to assist the young farmers with training so they would be able to positively maximise their earnings.
Additionally, according to the director, through working closely in partnership with the farmers, would the educational levels needed to be achieved in order to engender that holistic approach, if the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to enjoy the massive potential benefits of the medicinal cannabis industry.
The director went on to state that by working in such close partnerships with the farmers, the knowledge imparted would serve to help them better understand that “There are further international standards and set industry guidelines that we want to have persons trained in, to allow Vincentians to be the ones who benefit from the jobs in the industry.”
It is estimated that about 20 – 30 million dollars would be funnelled into establishing the necessary infrastructure to carry out the needed procedures for the extraction of oils and other by-products, from the cannabis plant.
Additionally, it was confirmed that “the setting up of the extraction facility as we would like to have it, pending the legislative authority to do so, will be a major capital investment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”