Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, noted that the agriculture and fisheries sectors in St. Kitts and Nevis have significantly improved from January to June 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, due to the “targeted support provided to the sector.”
“Crops, livestock, and fisheries are performing much better in 2021 relative to the same period in 2020. Over the period January to June 2021, crop and livestock combined recorded a 25 percent increase in production. The dollar value of crops and livestock produced was put at $5.5 million, an increase of $1.1 million over the $4.4 million recorded for the comparative period in 2020. Gains in production were recorded in cabbage, onion, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, watermelon, and yam,” said Prime Minister Harris during his monthly press conference on August 24 at the NEMA Conference Room.
Turning to the livestock sector, Prime Minister Harris said that production recorded gains in output as beef went up by 24 percent, goat meat increased by 27 percent, mutton by seven (7) percent, and pork by 18 percent.
“Overall gains in production have been put at 20 percent over the comparative period in 2020. It is also of note that we have 1100 registered farmers with the Ministry of Agriculture – 970 are males and 130 are females,” said the prime minister. “I want to thank all of them because I consider them to be ambassadors for our food and nutrition security. I want to urge all farmers to register as self-employed persons with Social Security, to protect themselves against loss of earnings and, of course, to secure their pensions in later years.”
According to Dr. Harris, overall fish landings for the period January to July 2021 were 442,830lbs with a landed value of $4.9 million.
“This represented a 25 percent increase over the comparative period in 2020. The most significant year-on-year movement so far was seen in the landings of the lobster fishery, which increased by 150 percent over last year’s outturn. Additionally, reef and demersal fish (snapper, hind, butterfish, doctor fish, etc.) surpassed last year’s output by 26 percent. Conch fishery has shown a 17 percent increase. We have over 1,200 fishers who are registered with our Marine Department as of July 2021,” he said. “These are significant numbers of persons who engaged productively in an independent way earning their own keep. A lot of them are not recognized formally in the Social Security system. I want again to urge them to think about the wisdom of doing so.”
Dr. Harris referenced the employment statistics noting that a significant number of persons are employed within the sector, with about 1100 in farming who are registered with the Ministry of Agriculture, and 1200 registered with the Marine Resources for a total of about 2300 persons.
“The significant improvements in our fisheries output and income like with crop and livestock are the direct results of my government’s efforts to build an inclusive society where everyone can do well. And we specifically targeted food security when we unveiled our stimulus package providing for example, for our fishermen – fish pot wire, support for their engines and other inputs required for them to ply their trade successfully,” Dr. Harris added.