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Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, has emphasised that Famers and Fishers’ Week 2021 will be centred around honouring local fishers and farmers.
Honourable Wheatley said, “This year, we celebrate farmers and fishers collectively as food producers with an emphasis on public awareness and education as we reflect on the accomplishments we have made, whether large or small.”
The minister said, “This is a time for solidarity and comraderie among our food producers. This is about you - about celebrating and honouring you and we hope you will come out in numbers as a show of commitment to these industries and to each other.”
Farmers and Fishers’ Week 2021 will be observed from April 25 to May 1 under the theme “Restore, Increase, Sustain and Educate”, abbreviated as “RISE”.
Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Theodore M. James, said the theme embodies the resilience of the two sectors.
“The people of the Virgin Islands, especially our farmers and fishers, have experienced great challenges after the hurricanes of 2017,” Mr. James said. He added, “Farm structures, equipment, crops, livestock, fishing vessels, and engines were damaged or lost. For many fishers and farmers, livelihoods are still affected to this very day.”
The director said R.I.S.E. reflects the Territory’s resilience and ingenuity as a people to recover after facing the greatest hurricane to hit our shores.
”It represents our ability to keep persevering despite our present challenges and to ensure there remains a future for our children,” he added.
The week of activities include ceremonies for the renaming of the fisherman’s dock in Baughers Bay, the opening of the animal pound and dedication of the new tractor and animal trailers at Paraquita Bay.
There will be daily radio quizzes and features on the Almanac on ZBVI, a digital publication that highlights the history and diversity of agriculture and fisheries sectors; short informational videos featuring local farmers and fishers that can be easily viewed and shared across various platforms and dessert competitions at the secondary and tertiary school levels.
The director further stated that a fish soup competition will be held among cooks across the Territory and a panel discussion on the topic, "The Future of Food Production – Can the Virgin Islands Rise to the Challenge?". The discussion will feature professionals with business, education and science backgrounds who are immersed daily in food production.
The department will also showcase highlights from work being carried out in school gardens across the Territory and host an open house to enable the community to learn more about its work. The week will culminate with a grand farmers and fishers market day open to the public on the grounds at Paraquita Bay on Saturday, May 1.