IICA has received three shipments of seeds for donation to the Ministry of Agriculture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The first donation of 11,500 packets of seeds were delivered to the Ministry of Agriculture in August 16. A second donation of seeds, which was a combined shipment from Argentina and Chile was delivered to the Ministry in October. A final donation of seeds from Bayer was delivered to the Ministry on Tuesday 23 November at a special ceremony organized for this purpose.
The La Soufriere Volcano on St. Vincent erupted explosively on April 9, 2021 with 32 explosive eruption occurring over the period from that date to April 22, 2021.
The natural disaster, prompted the state to institute emergency measures in the north of the country with mass evacuations of communities in the northeast and northwest of mainland St. Vincent. These areas are the rural heartland of the country and the source of much of the agricultural production that is so important for the food and nutrition security of the population and commercial activities associated with regional and international trade in fresh produce and livestock.
Approximately 20,000 persons were evacuated at the height of the disaster and relocated to over 80 shelters and private residence in safer zones south of the epicenter. This group included over 2800 farmers and 278 fishers as indicated in the table below.
The disaster created several challenges for SVG in health, economic, security and social dimensions. For agriculture this was an especially impactful event. Preliminary damage and loss assessment from CDEMAindicated that ~$65 USD in damage and losses have accumulated to the agriculture sector. [It is anticipated that the final damage and loss estimate will be significantly higher as losses continue to accumulate as the consequences of the eruptions continue to unfold.] crop agriculture suffered damage and losses of ~ USD $42,913,506 of which ~ $3,847,776.
IICA has been actively engaged with the Ministry of Agriculture and other partners from very early in the disaster, providing material and technical assistance to the response and recovery efforts. The Institute’s Interventions can thus be summarized as follows:
IICA contributed USD $10,000 to livestock support in April, 2021, soon after the explosive eruptions. These monies were used to purchase ~28 (imperial) tons of feed which were distributed to farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture, commencing April 16, 2021;
IICA chaired the Damage and Loss Assessment Committee at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture. This committee prepared the preliminary report for CDEMA, on damage and loss in the agriculture sector;
IICA participated on the committee addressing the very short-term response efforts from which a short term recoveries plan was prepared;
IICA committed to providing a further USD $25,000 for the country. These resources, based on the advice of the Ministry of Agriculture, were committed to the purchase of two greenhouse structures (30’X60’) and accessories which intended for use in vegetable seedling production;
IICA has held dialogue with the authorities in Argentina with a view towards providing further support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Ministry of Agriculture has prioritized livestock and apiculture as two key areas for intervention;
IICA has received approval from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative for the implementation of a project for 30 vegetable producers. The project is valued at ~ USD $40,000.00
IICA provided a virtual forum in June for technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture to dialogue with colleagues from Guatemala and Costa Rica to learn from their experiences of managing soils impacted by recent volcano eruptions (both countries have had to respond to similar situations recently).
IICA has provided several fora for the Ministry of Agriculture to speak to representatives and stakeholders across several countries and institutions in the public and private sectors in the Americas, with the intention of highlighting the situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, thus providing the opportunity for further assistance to emerge; and
IICA has responded to a request from Ambassador Lou Anne Gilchrist, received via the Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction, Organisation of American States, to support efforts for volcanic ash analysis in the context of soil management. The Institute is responding to this request through a comprehensive approach that initially lays out a roadmap for actions. A team comprising technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture and IICA are working on this initiative; and
IICA has leveraged on its partnerships across the hemisphere to get material assistance for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to rebuild its agriculture sector. In this regard St. Vincent has now received a shipments of seeds from Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Bayer.