MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND IICA CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 23, 2022 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has made improving domestic food security a major priority, after the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains.

This was highlighted on February 22, 2022, when the Ministry of Agriculture held its Annual Review and Planning Meeting at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, under the theme ‘Innovation and Sustainability: A New Strategy for Agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis’.

Representing the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) at the meeting was its Technical Specialist, Ms. Sharon Jones who spoke on the importance of new strategies geared towards improving sustainable agriculture.

“We started with our climate change initiatives. As our farmers and stakeholders may know that during the end of 2021 we started consultation towards building resilience for climate change with an irrigation management project. The project is about 90 percent complete and we have handed it over to our partners. The department and all the farmers and stakeholders and the sustainable development groups are happy about this project, and at the end of this year we will be celebrating its success,” Ms. Jones said.

She added, “ICCA is going to assist the department in establishing a citrus nursery while it manages its pest and diseases in home gardens and farms to continue building awareness that importation of planting material always comes with the risk of importing pest and diseases into the island, and extreme caution has to be always looked at when focusing on this area.”

The representative from IICA indicated that farmers in St. Kitts and Nevis will continue to benefit from a wide range of initiatives coming out of the agency tailored specifically to improve the agriculture sector within the Federation. Ms. Jones also stated that major focus will be placed on small and micro agro-processors within the country.

“This year we want to focus also on our small and microprocessors. Last year, IICA had an initiative where a trade show was done virtually. The other Caribbean countries participated and we were able to have access to new markets. We are hoping that this year we would have at least two or three microprocessors taking part in that initiative. So, from now until the trade show happens in October, I am hoping that the microprocessors will work with me so that we can build our capacity. We are launching agriculture health and food safety portal for microprocessors on Friday (February 25), and we have people both in St. Kitts and Nevis who are participating,” Ms. Jones said. 

IICA has been operating within the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis for 30 years, helping farmers develop the latest strategies and providing tools to improve the domestic agriculture sector.

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