BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 8, 2023 (SKNIS) – Minister with responsibility for Agriculture, the Honourable Samal Duggins has reaffirmed the commitment of his ministry to successfully accomplish CARICOM's 25 by 2025 initiative, which is an effort to significantly reduce the region's Food Import Bill.
Minister Duggins gave an update on St. Kitts and Nevis’ progress towards achieving this goal during the Prime Minister’s Press Conference with Cabinet Ministers on Tuesday, November 07.
For St. Kitts and Nevis, the realization of CARICOM’s 25 by 2025 Agenda is predicated on the farmers’ abilities to increase crop production, and in this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture is doing all it can to assist farmers. One area of assistance, as outlined by the minister, comes through the Drought Resilience Irrigation Project [DRIP] programme.
Minister Duggins said, “This project brings assistance to farmers to help and improve the efficiency of water use because as we know water is a scarce resource and it is also one of the more challenging areas for farmers given the prolonged periods of drought as an effect of climate change. So, we thought to be able to grow more food effectively and efficiently we had to address the water challenges. Under that programme, farmers were given water tanks to help harvest and store water over a period of time. They were also given components such as fittings and drip lines that would help to distribute the water more effectively and efficiently to crops which would waste less water. They were also given ground cover so that they could retain the moisture in the soil, which means you have the soil needing less water for the crops to grow—all of which adds to the efficiency of our water use.”
He also cited the groundbreaking for the first-ever Greenhouse Village in the White Gate area as another step towards CARICOM’s 25 by 2025 Agenda.
“That Greenhouse Village is set to be the site of an initial layout of fifteen (15) greenhouses. Those fifteen greenhouses will be issued to farmers and those farmers will be able to partake in the growing of crops. We have identified a number of crops that we believe we are well suited and positioned to grow for local demand and also hopefully to export. Those fifteen greenhouses would assist in that,” the agriculture minister said.
The Honourable Samal Duggins said at present, the greatest threats to crop production in St. Kitts and Nevis are the invasive green monkeys. To help address this issue, the minister said specialized fencing with protective mechanisms was issued to farmers to help deter feral animals.
“All of this was put together as a package so that our production could increase,” said Minister Duggins.
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