NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (JULY 10, 2020) — Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Federal Minister of Agriculture thanked two Allied Agencies – the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) for their renewed commitment to the development of agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Minister Jeffers, who is also the Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration was at the time meeting with representatives from both agencies at his Pinney’s Estate office on July 09, 2020, his first meeting since he was sworn into the federal office in June.
He noted that the government will ensure the overall advancement of the agricultural sector and take it to a level in which St. Kitts and Nevis export agricultural produce.
“That will be one of the areas that we would certainly have to exert tremendous effort to ensure we can realize our true potential. Agriculture still has a role to play in our overall development [and] COVID-19 would certainly have taught us some lessons, and from those lessons we are hoping to build a more vibrant and solid sector moving forward.
“There is indeed some interest that our people have shown, and we want to harness that to realize significant improvement in the lives and the livelihood of our people,” he said.
The delegation was made up of Ms. Sharon Jones, Technical Specialist with IICA and Mr. Kistian Flemming, Representative and Climate Change Development Specialist with CARDI.
Mr. Flemming said he looks forward to continuing the work CARDI began with Hon. Jeffers when he was only the Nevis Minister of Agriculture.
He noted that climate change resilience is a priority area for St. Kitts and Nevis as well as member states of the region, and agriculture can play a greater role in conserving the country’s financial resources, as the more food is produced locally the less money is spent on imports.
“Part of my object and goal here in St. Kitts and Nevis is to help develop resilience within the sector, and part of that strategy would be diversifying the sector quite a bit, and paying particular focus on those things that we can do well and really zero in on those things we have the resources for – the technical expertise and support, the local knowledge – as we move forward,” the specialist said.
Meantime, Ms. Jones believes that St. Kitts and Nevis is well placed to improve agricultural outputs, since both islands are blessed with rich, fertile soil and have few plant pests and diseases.
“I think there is a lot of opportunity in agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis, and from what I’ve witnessed thus far, your farmers are well versed. They’re excited and committed, and the support you really need now is to help them be able to take it to the next level.
“We at IICA pledge our support to work with the government, for the benefit of the farmers to give them that capacity-building,” she said.
Both CARDI and IICA are at present in collaboration with other stakeholders to carry out the climate resilience project in addition to a water management project on both St. Kitts and Nevis.