Labour administration makes agriculture a top priority

The St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) led government has reconfirmed its commitment to agriculture and those who find a livelihood within the sector. 

This affirmation came from Minister of Agriculture, Samal Duggins, during a pre-Labour Day political meeting on 30th April.

Duggins said for the first time in years, there was a clearly defined, long term plan to develop agriculture in the federation.

“Before we came in, comrades…nobody could tell us what the plan was. Now, everybody knows what agriculture plan is: 25 by 25. Finally they finally know a plan,” he said, referring to his ministry’s ambitious goal of reducing the country’s food import bill by 25 percent by 2025.

This goal will be achieved, according to the minister, by developing a more robust agriculture sector which in turn will increase the nation’s food security.

At the launch of the CARICOM backed 25 by 2025 initiative, Minister Duggins said, “This initiative, aimed at reducing extra-regional agri-food imports by 25 percent by 2025, is a crucial step in mitigating the high regional food import bill that has long been a concern for our Caribbean Community. In December 2022, I reiterated our dedication to achieving this agenda, emphasising our focus on priority crops and products, including poultry, goat, sheep, beef, and niche vegetables. These efforts align seamlessly with the CARICOM Agri-Food Systems Strategy, designed to propel us toward the targeted 25 percent reduction.”

Commenting on the ongoing work of his ministry, the Constituency 4 MP explained that in under two years of coming to office, he has delivered tangible benefits for farmers.

“As I stand here today, hundreds of farmers are receiving fencing for their farms. I said I would help them with the water situation on their farms. As I stand here today, comrades, hundreds of farmers are receiving supplies to make their farming more efficient with water use. Hundreds of farmers,” he said.

While the entire sector is set to reap the  benefits of the ministry’s work, where produce is concerned emphasis will be placed on encouraging crop producers to increase their output of watermelon, onions, cabbage, sweet pepper, lettuce and broccoli, and other items that form a considerable percentage of the country’s imports.

Plans are also being implemented to support livestock farmers with the development of a poultry processing facility, the Bayfords Livestock Centre of Excellence, an aquaculture facility and the refurbishment and expansion of existing fisheries facilities.

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