Photo: Courtesy of stevanovicigor
As a result of ongoing volcanic eruptions from La Soufrière since April 9, 2021, a steady stream of ash has covered Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and pyroclastic flow has destroyed the agricultural lands in the north and northeast of Saint Vincent (loopcayman.com).
With crops and land ruined, livestock killed, and surviving livestock unable to be fed due to the plants having been coated in ash, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have ceased to be a major food supplier for themselves and the region, most specifically Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Barbados (loopcayman.com).
Grenada, one of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ neighbors and large importers, plans to fill the void. According to Grenada's Minister for Agriculture, Lands, and Forestry, Peter David, "The main crops affected are root crops. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a main supplier of root crops. Coconuts are a big thing for Grenada from Saint Vincent. Not only crops but livestock as well. Grenada imports a substantial amount of beef and mutton and sometimes pork from Saint Vincent. The impact of Saint Vincent coming off the market will be serious for Grenada" (loopcayman.com).
To procure enough produce for their own country and be able to supply produce to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and other neighboring nations, Grenada's government is supporting farmers to step up their production. Grenada has also identified government-owned estates that are not currently under production and has "activated a mechanism" to begin a focused production of root crops.
This will not be the first time that Grenada has been a vital produce supplier. As David remembers, many years back, Grenada exported "tons and tons" of produce to Trinidad and Tobago every year (loopcayman.com).
Also, Grenada will be focusing on livestock. According to David, Grenada has excellent conditions for cows, goats, sheep, and pigs. Since Saint Vincent is currently struggling to feed their animals, Grenada plans to buy Saint Vincent's livestock and build a livestock industry.
Ultimately, Grenada’s goal is to support themselves, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and other countries in the region by being a viable source of produce and livestock.