The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations hosted an Inception Workshop on the Agriculture Land Bank Project on Friday 10th November 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce Conference Room. The project is aimed at the establishment of a pilot land bank, prepare an institutional framework and operational guidelines for the establishment and operation of a national land bank.
In delivering the feature address, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Saboto Caesar placed the development of the land bank in a historical context of land ownership and distribution with the development of the peasantry. He noted that successive governments have always sought to ensure that the population especially in the rural communities have access to land.
The Minister added that some 18,000 acres of land are available for agricultural production and this is under threat from other land use such as housing and infrastructural development as well as the impact of climate change. Within this context, he advised that there was need for a well-organized plan for the maintenance of lands for agriculture and ensure the nation’s food and nutrition security. He emphasized that in the development of the land bank that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was looking for a facility which will create the enabling environment for persons who wish to invest in agricultural production to have access to a database of available agricultural land and clear terms for access and utilization of that land.
The workshop sought to meet the following objectives:
1. Present and discuss the project including pilot site area
2. Present and discuss the results of the Participatory Rapid Appraisal
3. Present the voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure on land, forests and fisheries
4. Gather information from stakeholders on the following issues
a. Objectives of the land bank
b. Beneficiaries of the land bank
c. Agriculture land market
The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Sally Bunning, Senior Policy Officer, Sustainable Land Management, FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and is part of an FAO funded Technical Cooperation Project – Development of National Land Banks for improved Food and Nutrition Security and Land Administration in Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Participants listening attentively to the discussion on the implementation of a Land Bank
Hon. Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture delivering the feature address at the Workshop to launch the Agricultural Land Bank Project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.