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HomeNewsArchivesIsland Food Security Inc. Buys Tractor with Presbyterian Grant

Island Food Security Inc. Buys Tractor with Presbyterian Grant

Local farmers in Island Food Security Inc. received a $20,000 grant allowing them to purchase and maintain a shared 45-horsepower tractor. The tractor arrived Tuesday and the farmers are ready to get to work and put it to use in their fields.

Violet Drew, owner of Ras Daughter Sunrise Farm and Market Stand, said she can’t yet drive a tractor but she can hardly wait to use it on her farm. “I’ll learn how to use the tractor as soon as someone can teach me,” Drew said, adding that it will be very beneficial in her agriculture business.

Island Food Security Inc. is a nonprofit organization formed about a year ago on St. Croix. It is a network of 10 locals who are producers and concerned individuals determined to see a resurgence and rebuilding of the Virgin Islands agriculture industry.

The shiny, royal blue, $16,000 tractor was on display during a press conference Wednesday at Sejah Farm in Castle Burke. The tractor will be stored at Sejah Farm because it is centrally located near the other farms involved. The grant funding will also provide for diesel and maintenance for one year.

The grant came from the Presbyterian Committee on the Self Development of People (SDOP). Yvette Browne, secretary of Island Food Security, said she found out about the SDOP grant through her involvement in the Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network.

“We see this as a way to better assist ourselves instead of depending on the government,” Browne said.

Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Luther Renee said the department is encouraged and pleased to see the farmers take the initiative to acquire the equipment. Renee said the department is mandated to assist the farmers but that with budget cuts it is difficult to serve everyone.

Island Food Security’s stated goal is to rebuild the territory’s agriculture through education, science, research and technology for meeting the future needs for planning and development of the agricultural industry. It also plans to serve as a catalyst for increased production and income generation among its members and to promote techniques of agriculture production and marketing.

Sonia Liburd, chairman of the organization, said getting the tractor is a testimony to what partnerships and working together for a common goal can do.

Members include Drew, Liburd, Dale and Yvette Browne, Mr. and Mrs. Oswald Jackson, Malcolm Thomas, Wayne Osborne, Lucina Williams and Myron Allick.

Dale Browne said getting the tractor is just the beginning. “There are a lot more hurdles,” he said. “The tractor didn’t come fully loaded. We still need a plow, tiller and bush hog.”

Browne said people who want to push the agriculture industry forward are welcome to contribute to purchase implements.

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