Agriculture minister Duggins predicts 25 by 25 Agenda will transform SKN into the region’s “food mecca”

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources has again expressed optimism that the 25 by 25 Agenda will be successful and produce transformative change domestically and in the Leeward Islands.

A statement from the ministry noted that Minister Duggins was confident that St. Kitts and Nevis will become the “mecca” of the Leeward Islands. This, he said, goes hand in hand with the broader goal of “transforming local food production, reducing reliance on imported goods, and fostering a robust and resilient agricultural sector”.

Minister Duggins expressed these sentiments during a tour of the Poultry Hatchery earlier this month. 

The hatchery is being constructed under the Layer Chicken Industry Sustainable Development Project in collaboration with the Taiwan Technical Mission at the Bayford’s Livestock Centre of Excellence. Minister Duggins explained that the successful completion of this project will further launch the twin-island state on its path to reduce the food import bill by 25 percent by the year 2025 as it stands to cut the import bill by nearly $20 million.

“Poultry in particular is our largest sector in terms of spend nationally and one that we see quite a bit of opportunity for our people. Particularly this project will address hatchery which will provide their own birds to the farmers who are producing eggs, and we know that we have been doing quite well in egg production locally, but this is to close the gap so that we can become 100 percent efficient in egg production and we have also been discussing some ideas of how to put maybe some of these birds into broiler production. 

“I’m looking forward because $20 million is a significant chunk of our 25 by 25 Agenda, and we are steadfast and committed to achieving this, and with the help of the Taiwanese and the people of the Republic of China on Taiwan and their government, we are well on our way to achieving our agenda and making sure St. Kitts and Nevis becomes self-sufficient not in just egg production but in food security and food production on a whole and like I said we are becoming the food mecca of the Leeward islands.”

In 2022, chicken imports reached a record-breaking 19.3 million, marking the highest figure in the past five years.

“With the vision of enhancing food security, promoting sustainability, and boosting the local economy, the comprehensive 25 by 25 Agenda focuses on impacting every aspect of the food supply chain from meats, and crops in agriculture to aquaculture and fisheries. The primary goal in St. Kitts and Nevis is to reduce the annual $140 million food import bill by 25 percent, leading to an overall reduction of $35 million.” said a press statement from the ministry.

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