Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 21, 2021 (SKNIS): Agricultural transformation lies at the core of food security, improved nutrition, job creation and economic growth. As such, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is embarking on a Transformation and Growth Strategy 2022-2031 that will require an all-hands-on-deck approach for it to be successful, said Minister of Agriculture in the Federal Government, the Honourable Alexis Jeffers, during his October 19 appearance on ‘Leadership Matters’, a virtual forum on ZIZ TV.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we can see transformation and growth in the agriculture sector that realizes significant increase in job creation, revenue generation and a sustainable livelihood for our farmers and citizens on a whole,” said Minister Jeffers. “However, for this to happen, we must get the support of all government ministries, our farmers and farmers organizations or allied agencies, the private sector, the media and civil society, and all whose interest and future depend on this important sector. Simply put, we need all-hands-on-deck to ensure our transformation and growth strategy can and will work,” the agriculture minister added.
Minister Jeffers noted that there must also be some level of shared responsibility to get the strategy up and running.
“So to make this strategy work there must be first of all a willingness to change, to accept new ideas and to be pragmatic in our approach. We also have to adapt and implement all enabling policies and most importantly, there must be strong and decisive leadership,” he said.
Reflecting on the disruption of economic development due to COVID-19, Minister Jeffers said it is important to note that agriculture remains extremely important to the development of the Federation.
“The importance of agriculture to this nation has been brought into sharp focus since the onset of COVID-19 in the first quarter of 2020. Now, more than ever, we are seeing the importance of placing greater emphasis on food security, innovation in agriculture, adaptation and resilience to climate change, price shocks and sustainability in food production and our food systems,” he said. “It is my humble opinion that despite our country’s impressive and enviable advances across the economy, whether it be the private sector development, financial services, infrastructural development, strengthening our social services network or even public sector services delivery, agriculture still remains an important factor in the development of our nation and the key to creating equitable and sustainable growth for our people.”
Minister Jeffers added that it is critically important to safeguard wholesome food for the populace in a post-COVID generation amidst rising threats of pestilences, diseases, conflicts and climate change by “disrupting the status quo” and being enthusiastic about the future we want to forge.