Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis (July 25, 2007)
The culture and attitude towards agriculture has to change in a post-sugar era, as more land becomes available for food crop and livestock farming, says the Hon. Cedric Liburd, minister responsible for agriculture and fisheries.
Commenting on the positive developments in agriculture, Minister Liburd said, “Because we have lost at least 35 million dollars in foreign exchange coming into the country from sugar, we want to at least reduce the large importation of food”¦and I am really pleased that we were able to have at least 67.9 percent increase in production over the same period in 2006″¦This came about from a holistic approach between the Department of Agriculture, former sugar workers and the Ministry of Agriculture.”
Speaking with Communications Officer Clement “˜Juni’ Liburd on a Government Information Program, Minister Liburd reported that former sugar workers played an important role in the increased production of food crops for the first quarter of 2007 compared to the comparative period in 2006. He indicated that 100 former SSMC workers were successful in obtaining farmlands and assistance under the FAO funded Emergency Support Project for former sugar workers. FAO provided approximately EC$1 million for production support (e.g., seeds, fertilizers and land preparation) for participating farmers. Each farmer was allotted three acres of land and was required to focus on the production of pumpkins, peanuts, and sweet potatoes.
FAO reviewed the project in November 2006, and based upon the success, an additional US$60,000 has been approved. FAO is also considering funding support for enhanced infrastructure for pig farming, commented the agriculture minister, Hon. Cedric Liburd.