Nevis Agriculture Minister Calls For Reflection On World Food Day

CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 16, 2006)
Minister of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration the Hon. Robelto Hector urged Nevisians to let this year’s celebration of World Food Day be one of reflection and preparedness in an effort to move the agricultural sector on Nevis forward.He said once there are serious investments in agriculture, it would be an investment in the island’s food security which would benefit the entire nation.
Mr Hector made the comment during a televised speech on NTV’s Channel 8 on Sunday October 15, 2006, to commemorate the united Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) World Food Day which is celebrated worldwide annually on October 16. This year’s celebrations fall under the theme “Investing in Agriculture for Food Security”.
He called on the Private sector to invest in agriculture, because there were areas with great potential and major benefits to be derived.
“In Nevis we have great potential in the agro- processing industry”¦The fishing industry similarly continues to provide a livelihood for many fishermen”¦There are also other areas in the agricultural sector that are not fully exploited. I make reference to an industry such as aquaculture.  Livestock production is another area which could see some further expansion, so too could ornamental horticulture.
“Tremendous potential exists in those areas and should be taken advantage of. Investment in those areas of agriculture could lead to great benefits to both the investors and the consumers. I appeal now to all members of the private sector to support our farmers and fishers,” he said.
The Agriculture Minister also spoke of the need to recognise the importance of safeguarding the island’s food security. He noted that for too long, Nevisians had relied on imported foods which do not adequately meet the recommended nutritional standards.
“Let us as we celebrate World Food Day also recognise the importance of satisfying our nutritional requirements. From a nutritional standpoint we are extremely food insecure. Lots of the imported foods that we consume contain high concentrations of fats, and sugars which are way above the nutritional requirements and this is impacting on the health of our population.
“Property food security therefore, would only be achieved when we strike a balance between production, access and attaining our nutritional requirements,” he said.
Mr Hector also said that although the new Nevis Island Administration was committed to face the task of improving the agricultural sector it would not lose sight of the opportunities that are available within the island and by extension in the Caribbean that could propel the food sector in a positive direction.
“As a nation we are to move beyond the planning stage and invest meaningfully towards providing food for our country. We need to start feeding ourselves again like we once did,” he said.
For that reason, Mr Hector indicated that it was the intension of the NIA to strengthen the programmes of agriculture in both the primary and secondary schools on Nevis.

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