Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis, July 25th 2007 (CUOPM)
The performance of the agricultural sector in St. Kitts and Nevis is coming in for high praise from the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
But the private sector body is of the view that strong partnership from the private sector will increase productivity, improve local food security and produce enough food to export excess production.
“Our agricultural sector appeared to have been kept afloat by the production of vegetables, herbs, beef, pork and mutton production. Although the private sector is heartened by this production activity we still feel strongly that we are producing well below our level of capacity,” said Chamber President, Mr. Franklin Brand.Speaking at the recent 25th Annual Private Sector Banquet, Mr. Brand said it is the Chamber’s vision that a strong partnership is needed between the Ministry of Agriculture and the private sector to make import substitution a reality.
“We are blessed with enough fertile and arable land with which to feed ourselves, improve our own food security index, underpin our tourism sector with high quality local produce, and at the same time stem the flow of foreign exchange that drains out of this Country each month for the importation of agricultural goods that can be successfully grown here,” said Mr. Brand.
He ventured to go suggest that St. Kitts and Nevis could be a net exporter of agricultural products to neighbouring islands such as St. Maarten, the French Antilles, and Antigua and Barbuda.
“This move alone would have the effect of improving our trade balance. We wish to engage Government on this issue with a view to establishing a practical approach to its implementation,” said Mr. Brand.