St Kitts and Nevis allocates $18.5m in Agri sector, to meet CARICOM 25 by 25 agenda

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The Government of St Kitts and Nevis has taken a critical step in its march towards becoming a Sustainable Island State, as it allocated $18.5 million to the Agriculture Sector, by way of strategic investments, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr Terrance Drew in his Budget Address for 2024.

The Agricultural Sector is being repositioned as the primary source of employment, social and economic security and the improvement of collective health and nutrition are of great significance. This is a show of the Dr Terrance Drew led government’s commitment towards ensuring that the nation meets the requirements of the CARICOM 25 by 25 Agenda.

With this agenda as a priority St Kitts and Nevis intends to increase investments into infrastructure, adopt advanced technology and strengthen the nation’s human resource capacity including the technological and scientific capabilities of agricultural officers.

As mentioned by Dr Terrance Drew in the Budget Address, these decisions have been taken in accordance with the inputs of prominent stakeholders in the Agricultural industry, as well as other relevant sectors which are aligned with it.

This is why the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources initiated a number of stakeholder meetings in 2023 to discuss pertinent issues such as the impact of drought, land distribution and preparation, access to water, duty-free concessions, the availability of agricultural inputs, and the Cannabis Act.

PM Terrance Drew also explained that to achieve the goals set for the Agricultural Sector in 2024, it will be repositioned as the key contributor to employment, social and economic security.

This is precisely why the allocation of a sum of $18.5 million has been proposed to facilitate Recurrent Expenditure. This change will bring in a 6.4 percent increase when compared to 2023. The primary application of these resources will be focused on the recruitment of trained personnel to enhance the technical support provided to our farming community.

A Capital expenditure of $9.4 million has also been proposed for 2024, which will facilitate the coming transformation process, as the nation aims to take strides towards its long-standing Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as it pertains to Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Life Below Water and Responsible Consumption and Production.

There will also be an increased focus in 2024 on propagating programmes and projects identified as critical to the continued development of this Sector.

Significance of Youth to the Agricultural Sector

PM Drew made it a point to highlight the role that the nation’s youth has to play in its agricultural success. He spoke of the engagements which were held with the students of two schools, while also stating that forums with stakeholders and students will be convened in 2024 as well.

He also asked citizens to be aware of coming events and participate in them whole heartedly, as often as possible, for the betterment of their nation.

Boost to Meat and Egg Production

PM Drew mentioned the role that a partnership with the Republic of China (Taiwan) has played promoting the sustainable development of the nation. He also brought up the fact that in June 2023, an agreement was signed for the St. Kitts and Nevis Layer Chicken Industry Sustainable Development Project between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Under this scheme, the establishment of a hatchery on St. Kitts will be undertaken. This facility will deliver a production capacity of over twenty thousand, day-old chicks per year for both meat and egg production.

The key objectives of this project include the introduction of modern breeding technology as well as egg production technology, bolstering the nation’s ability to sustainably produce poultry products and substantially reduce the level of imports.

Water Security Project

According to PM Drew’s speech, water has been identified as a critical area for support to farming community. This is precisely why the water security project has been devised for implementation over the medium term, to aid farms in gaining access to an adequate water supply for food production.

The government has already begun accepting tenders for the supply of water tanks, irrigation pipes, and associated materials. A multi-stakeholder approach has been taken to holistically look at the water needs on the island of St. Kitts, inclusive of the Agriculture Sector.

Reformation of land policies has also made it to the list of priorities for the coming year.

Renovation of Fishing Facilities

The Department of Marine Resources is committed to overseeing the transformation of the Fisheries Sector and the effective management of marine resources. A programme has been established for the construction and renovation of fishing facilities in the major fishing communities.

This will ultimately help promote fishing activities, improve the assurance of fish quality, increase food safety, create jobs, sustain livelihoods, and attract new fishers into the sector.

This initiative is being seen as a critical step in the development of a ‘Blue Economy’ in St Kitts and Nevis.

Steps taken towards a ‘Blue Economy’

PM Minister Drew was very optimistic about the establishment of a ‘Blue Economy’ as he stated that the timing is right for interventions to unleash a Blue Economy and engage in sustainable activities that will bring economic development to the nation.

The St Kitts and Nevis Department of Marine Resources intends to promote blue economy activities such as marine energy, marine biotechnology, aquaculture, sea moss production, tourism activities, marine transportation, boat building and high seas fishing.

As of now, the Department of Marine Resources is focusing on research and discussions with stakeholders.

George Henry
George Henryhttp://writeups24.com/
George Henry, a distinguished graduate of Columbia University, pursued his passion in Economics with outstanding academic achievements. George found his calling in journalism, aiming to raise awareness regarding geopolitical and socioeconomic issues. He is recognized for having a keen interest in international geopolitics, sports and women's rights. To reach George, you can email contact@writeups24.com

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