Mr. Lindsay Grant – People’s Action Movement
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 15th 2009
Last week, PAM Leader Lindsay Grant gave a sneak peak at the party’s comprehensive vision for St. Kitts & Nevis in his landmark address for change before the Chamber of Commerce. Today, PAM is unveiling a new section of it’s website that highlights some of it’s vision for agriculture in a post-sugar economy.
“This groundbreaking agricultural strategy introduces a new Diversification Incentives Program for the private sector with the benefit of a purposive approach to food security in the Federation,” said Grant. “Our basic premise is that the promise of a “˜basket of essential goods’ is inadequate under the current system. In fact, the upward spiral in prices for food and energy on the international market has focused critical attention on agricultural production in St. Kitts and Nevis. The 2008 figures reveal that our Federation produces less than half of the demand for sweet potatoes and white potatoes, and merely a quarter of our overall demand for produce such as yam. What’s more, we produce even less for everyday vegetables such as onions at 16% of overall demand. In fact, our country continues to import about 75% of its annual food consumption, a startling statistic.”
Grant went on to outline his solution, a public-private partnership that will encourage the growth of our agricultural sector, provide opportunity for our sugar workers and make land ownership a reality for more Kittitians & Nevisians
“We see this as an investment opportunity for the private sector- local investors in partnership with local farmers. We propose to make available large tracts of land for commercial farming,” said Grant. “The goal is to reduce our food import bill and create jobs in the short-term and export fresh produce in the medium term at a reasonable return for the investors. This initiative will also exploit the desired linkages between tourism and agriculture.
“This will of course be a public sector /private sector partnership with government’s equity being the provision of the land, but we wish it to be private sector driven, with as little intervention by government as possible.
“This new PAM initiative will also expedite the transition of ex-sugar workers, left dangling since the 2005 industry closure, as an adjunct workforce to this groundbreaking policy in commercial farming.”
You can learn more about PAM’s vision for agriculture at PAM’s website, www.pamforchange.com