Cortwright Marshall, the United Progressive Party (UPP) spokesperson on Economic Development, Planning and Rural Transformation says that the Gaston Browne Administration has destroyed the agricultural programme in the southern corridor of the island that is managed by the Government.
Marshall, the UPP candidate for St. Mary’s South, says he and fellow candidate Jonathan Joseph recently visited the Christian Valley Agricultural Centre, which he described to be in a poor state.
He says that there were several fruits including coconuts and tangerines, which were ripened but were left on the tree unpicked.
Marshall says that the workers have complained about a lack of equipment to do their job, including grass cutters, hedge clippers and fertilizers.
Marshall says that no proper attention has been given to the pineapple farm at Cades Bay and there is hardly any crop being grown now.
The Antigua Black Pineapple has, for decades, been considered the sweetest pineapple anywhere in the world.
But recently, Prime Minister Browne has condemned the fruit saying that it has lost its flavor and sweetness.
Marshall thinks the government is to be blamed for this.
He says it appears as though the Government is not serious about food security in Antigua and Barbuda and he speculates that it wants these agricultural sites to fail in order to give away the land to foreign interests.
Marshall rebuts any assertion that the condition of these agricultural stations – The Cades Bay and Christian Valley Agricultural Stations – were as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He sees it as a direct impact of a lack of policy and interest by the Government in the development of agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda. The UPP candidate says that agriculture can produce enough commodities/crops and generate enough revenue whether or not there is a pandemic.