No need to panic, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will be able to make its next export of root crops to T&T.
Next week Monday is an important day for SVG as it is the day they are scheduled to ship goods to their main trading partner T&T.
But with the recent eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano and the resultant layers of ash blanketing the country, there are growing concerns about whether or not they will be able to make that shipment to T&T.
However, Saboto Caesar, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour in St Vincent and the Grenadines, believes that the country will be able to make its shipment even in the face of the ongoing situation taking place.
“I want the people of T&T to know that we in St Vincent and the Grenadines, we have a long-standing relationship with your people and your people have supported us over the years in terms of supplying a ready market and we are going to do whatever it takes to get our operations up and running so that we can continue the export trade to T&T,” he said.
And Caesar believes his optimism is not misplaced because St Vincent and the Grenadines and its people are “resilient.”
Caesar told the Business Guardian that the fact that goods were shipped to Barbados on Monday amid the volcanic activity is evidence of that resilience.
“In fact when I tell you I was moved to tears when I saw that in spite of all that is going on persons still went and packaged goods and took it to the port. If that is not resilience then nothing else is,” he said.
Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat said that even if the imports from St Vincent and the Grenadines are disrupted, he believes that local production will be able to fill the gap.
“We have seen increased local production in a number of produce categories. Some customers prefer the Caricom imports. We will lose supplies from St Vincent and the Grenadines but I believe local production will fill the gap,” Rambharat said.
“We are still working with other Caricom suppliers to see the extent of their disruptions. There is however an abundance of produce in the local market,” he said.
Exports to T&T from St Vincent and the Grenadines are valued at around $50 million.