Farmers still waiting for Chinese agricultural project document

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One member of the umbrella body representing farmers in Antigua and Barbuda — the National Coalition of Farmers (NCF) — said that the body found it necessary to conduct a meeting on Monday evening to update members on why it is not yet in possession of a copy of the government’s proposed Chinese agricultural project.
The government had promised to deliver the document to the NCF, latest by last week, but failed to do so.
Yesterday, Linley Winter told OBSERVER media, “We were told that there are presumably changes being made to whatever document there is.”
Following Monday’s meeting, he said that: “The farmers took a position that [the document] is something that we would expect to get soonest and we are awaiting that as a necessary part of our being able to understand clearly what is supposed to unfold.”
He said that the document is important to the farmers as it would give a true understanding as to what the Chinese agricultural project entails and how it would affect them as vital players in the agriculture sector.
“We did not receive anything in writing that we could have in hand and that we can go by in definitive terms, and one does not want to fall victim to speculation,” Winter said.
He added that during a meeting with Minister of Agriculture, Dean Jonas, earlier in May, the members of the NCF had communicated their position and both parties came to an understanding that the document would have been handed over to the coalition by the end of that month.
 “Our expectation was that the commitment that was made would have been lived up to but that was not done on May 31,” he said.
This contract between the Chinese-based Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Company (LPHT) and the government of Antigua and Barbuda was signed early last month. Concerns were raised by some residents, mainly farmers, after a draft agreement was leaked to the public.

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