Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 01, 2016 (SKNIS): The Agricultural Sector in the Federation is vital for sustained economic growth, stated Jeanelle Kelly, Quarantine Officer at the Department of Agriculture, during a recent address to agricultural stakeholders.
Ms. Kelly noted that agriculture will be transformed.
“By 2016, agriculture will be innovative, resilient and sustainable, supporting food and nutrition security, viable livelihoods, economic linkages and biodiversity conservation,” she said. “This is the vision as set out in the Agricultural Development Strategy for 2013-2016. The Strategic Framework for the Department of Agriculture is embodied in the 2013-2016 Agricultural Development Strategy Plan.”
The quarantine officer stated that three distinct, yet interconnected Agricultural Development Goals were developed and aimed to: provide safe, affordable and stable food for food and nutrition security; generate innovative and profitable agri-businesses for growth and development; and create sustainable and resilient farming systems capable of adapting to hazards and climate change.
“Against this backdrop, we seek as a sector to engender resilience to deal with global realities,” said Ms. Kelly. “Paraphrased, it is rendered to stimulate flexibility to deal with worldwide actualities. Forging and sustaining linkages between agriculture and other sectors including industry, manufacturing, trade and tourism has been a long-standing national development policy objective.”
She stated that the staff at the department is tasked with the development of synergistic, intersectoral linkages that expand the scope of agricultural activities and support employment and real development.
Ms. Kelly further noted that the agricultural sector has been making important contributions to economic integration and growth, improved quality of life and environmental health.
She said that in recognizing the important and multifunctional role of agriculture to sustainable development, a number of principles represent the core value system to guide the development and execution of the sector.
Such principles include: balance integration and equity in interventions, designed to further economic growth, food safety, rural prosperity and environmental health; respect for compliance with international obligations built into strategies and programmes to create and strengthen the enabling environment for entrepreneurship and investor confidence; leadership and corporate and social responsibility for the building of social capital. They also consist of consultations and partnership amongst stakeholders at all levels and stages of decision making and implementation; and flexibility, efficiency and accountability in the implementation of programmes in a manner that accommodates the changing circumstances of the national economy.