The government will soon be introducing an export tax as it reports an upsurge in local food production, according to Premier and Finance Minister Hon. Andrew Fahie.
“Very shortly we will be implementing an export tax and we are working on that behind the scenes because we are seeing that more of our people, not only are now with the fishing and farming but we are also seeing that more of them are going into poultry,” he disclosed at a press conference on Friday October 8.
The Premier mentioned that many local farmers have made good use of the plots of land at Paraquita Bay.
“We have allowed some of our persons in the Virgin Islands to have plots of land at Paraquita Bay to expand their organization, so we are seeing more local eggs, more local poultry…we have a far way to go, but we are getting there to sustain ourselves in a lot of areas of supplying our own people with food,” he said.
Premier Fahie added, “we just have to make sure that we get them to the level that is consistent in case the world shuts off from supplying us with food. We wouldn’t have a variety of choice but at least we wouldn’t starve.”
The Territory leader said there is no shortage of fish on island.
“We have a lot of our people [who] have up their game in the fishing industry. I want to challenge anyone who wants to purchase a fish anywhere through the Virgin Islands, to tell me you cannot find fish. I challenge anyone in the Virgin Islands who want to get produce could tell me you cannot get produce,” he said.
He continued: “We have seen an upsurge in local food production and that was part of the aim, and a major part for the long run. So yes, there are certain things we can get from the supermarket but just like our foreparents were able to feed themselves in these Virgin Islands when things were not so affluent, we are now seeing we are finding ways to start feed ourselves.”
The Premier pointed out to the controversial COVID-19 stimulus grants given to farmers and fisherfolks, stating that it was part of helping them to up their game.
The Finance Minister assured that the government will continue to assist local farmers and fisherfolks.