Commissioner of Agriculture Carlos Robles has announced that the V.I. Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) has been recognized by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) for its successful execution of the Virgin Fresh Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (VFFMNP) in fiscal year 2016 and for having the highest average rate of redemption of vouchers in the nation.
In 2016, the VIDOA received a grant of $77,791 from the FMNP, which is funded by the USDA-FNS to provide fresh, nutritious, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs from WIC authorized farmers’ markets to WIC families in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The amount of $64,567 was set aside for food distribution through vouchers to WIC recipients while the balance covered the administrative cost to operate the program.
Each eligible WIC recipient received $20 in checks or vouchers to purchase locally grown produce from WIC authorized farmers at WIC authorized markets throughout the territory. By the end of the reporting period, the amount of $42,995 was expended by WIC recipients. The 68.25 percent redemption rate of vouchers exceeded the national redemption rate of 56.84 percent.
“We at the VIDOA are ecstatic about this recognition from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. I commend director of marketing, Mr. Billy Abraham, and his team for their hard work that led to the achievement of this milestone. I also thank our partners, the V.I. Department of Health, the participating farmers and the WIC recipients for their support of local agriculture,” Commissioner Robles said.
“We look forward to their continued support as we launch our 2017 campaign this month,” said Robles.