(Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 5th 2023);
Honourable Samal Duggins, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives in St. Kitts and Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) met on Friday, June 02, 2023, to discuss the implementation of policies in the federation, geared towards meeting CARICOM’s ‘25% by 2025’ agenda.
The meeting, which was held at the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park in Nevis, saw Permanent Secretaries, Mr. Miguel Flemming (Ag) on St. Kitts and Mr. Huey Sergeant of the Nevis Island Administration, Directors of the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources, Deputy Directors and technical officers from both islands also in attendance.
During a brief update, Honourable Samal Duggins expressed how the partnership between both islands can help the federation meet its target.
He said, “As the federal minister I would have engaged with the Minister, Mr. Evelyn of Nevis and we would have collaborated on the idea that St. Kitts and Nevis move in one accord and today we brought our technical teams together so that we both can have a shared vision in our approach on the 25 by 25 Agenda for St. Kitts and Nevis as one country and I must say discussions are going extremely well and I believe that at the end of these discussions we will have a very well formulated plan as to how we would both contribute to one agenda for 25 by 25. I always say, based on the data and statistics and what we have already put together St. Kitts and Nevis will be recorded as a success story when CARICOM is announcing all stories about the agenda, and I look forward to seeing what is in future for food security within the federation.”
The Honourable Eric Evelyn confirmed that the discussion heavily focused on priority crops that are expected to contribute greatly to a reduction in the regional food bill.
The Nevis Minister said, “we would have had some initial meetings prior to this one so we decided to intensify what we are doing because what we need to continue to do is to identify certain crops, livestock products and marine products that we think has the potential for us to increase our production locally so that we can have a reduction by 25% or even more than 25%
by the year 2025. I think that here in St. Kitts and Nevis we do have the potential to reach that target and so what we are also trying to do is to identify what are our strengths, our weaknesses, our opportunities and our threats are in terms of reaching those targets and so we have a very good cadre of agriculture experts here today and we are having some very rich discussions and I am hoping as we continue these discussions that we continue to coordinate. It is very important for us to coordinate what is happening between both St. Kitts and Nevis and I am very confident in what we have been doing over that past months and years, so that St. Kitts and Nevis can actually make a dent into the importation and my message has always been, we need to produce more of what we eat locally and I think that in essence is what we are trying to do. All of this is also a part of our thrust for food security and food sovereignty.”
The implementation of the CARICOM Agri-Food Systems Strategy in member states is expected to help achieve the 25 by 25 target by giving special attention to priority crops and products such as poultry, corn, soya, meat (beef, sheep, fish and goat), rice and niche vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, red cabbage, lettuce and tomato), as well as roots and tubers like cassava, sweet potato, table potato and dasheen. Specific fruits, herbs and spices have also been considered.
In his presentation at the most recent Prime Minister’s Press Conference, Agriculture Minister Duggins revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture is preparing to roll out its comprehensive plan, designed to secure food self-sufficiency and sustainability in St. Kitts and Nevis.
This strategy is expected to outline the targets which have been set to contribute significantly in reducing the food import bill on a national and regional level.