Johnson Drigo
Johnson Drigo

Saying that critics of the agriculture sector "do not paint a true picture", agriculture minister Johnson Drigo last weekend, on the Government radio programme "Focus on Development", took up his paint brush and dabbed the farming canvass with bright colours of success.

"Farmers continue to export, the market continues to explode, the Roseau Market is still the most beautiful fresh produce market in the entire Caribbean- the only island you will go into the market and everything that you see is of the agricultural structure from the island itself," Drigo said on state-owned DBS radio.

He continued: "Agriculture is not dying at all. Agriculture is A-L-I-V-E. And there is money to be made in agriculture".

Drigo advised young farmers "who wants to make money for Independence" to grow short term-crops like cucumbers and peppers.

"Every supermarket has a beautiful shelf just for agricultural produce. So, therefore, if you go to the supermarkets, Miniya's, Whitchurch- you name it, they all are purchasing agricultural products every week."

Contradicting Drigo's assessment, leading farmers and technicians contend that the agricultural sector is struggling to survive due to dwindling overseas markets (for bananas in Europe and the Caribbean, for instance), poor farm access roads (made worse in 2015 by Tropical Storm Erika) and many types of pests and diseases (like Black Sigatoka).