USVI Department of Agriculture Seeking Farmers to Participate in Capacity Building Program

Agriculture Commissioner Positive T.A. Nelson criticized abusive farming practices during Tuesday’s Finance Committee hearing. (V.I. Legislature Photo)
Agriculture Commissioner Positive T.A. Nelson.(File photo: V.I. Legislature)

Commissioner of Agriculture Positive T.A. Nelson has announced an opportunity aimed at assisting Virgin Islands farmers to produce locally grown crops on a production scale through the establishment of a Capacity Building Program. The program will seek to fill the gap between the farmers who have the will to farm but are at a financial disadvantage or may not have adequate resources to build a farming business.

The V.I. Department of Agriculture is seeking four farmers (two in each district) to participate in this endeavor. The program will provide the selected applicants with technical assistance and training on best planting practices, crop variety selection, irrigation, and post-harvest techniques. All applications received under this solicitation will undergo a competitive review process to select the prospective participants for the VIDA Growers Capacity Building Program.

That is, each application will be evaluated and scored based on a point and rank system. This evaluation will be conducted by a panel of three members who are not associated with the Department of Agriculture. Finally, four applications (two for St. Croix District and two for St. Thomas/St. John District) with the top four scores (per island district) will be selected for the project.

Prospective participants must meet the following minimum requirements to be eligible to participate in this program:

  • Must have an identifiable water source
  • Minimum of one acre of land (proof of ownership or permission to occupy the property)
  • a Farmer’s License

All individuals interested in applying for this program may request an application via VIDA’s website (www.info.doa.vi.gov) or e-mail: billy.abraham@doa.gov.vi; or pick it up from the V.I. Department of Agriculture campus located in either district. Selected applicants must possess the following minimum requirements:

  • Adequate water supply
  • Farmer’s License
  • Health Card
  • Land (proprietorship of property is not mandatory; however, if the property belongs to another party, then express permission from the landowner must be granted).

The deadline to submit applications to the V.I. Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Division is 4:59 p.m., Oct. 31. Applications may be submitted electronically to billy.abraham@doa.vi.gov or grants@doa.vi.gov. All questions regarding this opportunity should be emailed to email addresses provided above.