Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): On May 20, 2021, the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) Agricultural Studies Programme held its handing over ceremony for the donation of a Hydroponic Shade House. During brief remarks at the event, Minister of Education, Hon. Jonel Powell urged those present to continue their support for agriculture education in an effort to strengthen food security and economic diversification.
“The events of the past year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic have really forced us to rethink our strategies, and perhaps ironically the first alternative that was present was agriculture…What we have before us today is the perfect example of how technology has improved the agriculture sector, with hydroponics showing that you can utilize this technology and increase your production on smaller plots,” said Minister Powell.
The COVID-19 experience solidified the realization that the Federation needs to produce more of what it consumes. The government has responded to protect the population against the supply chain being negatively affected by ensuring that it systematically diversifies source markets for food including poultry, meat, and fish while it aggressively works to achieve near self-sufficiency in these staples.
Minister Powell told the young CFBC students that the potential careers in agriculture are limitless since technology has now enabled greater diversification and larger crop yields. The young students were told that the future of the Federation’s sustainability and food security is heavily reliant on them taking up the mantle in agriculture production.
“What I would like to see going forward from today is not only to expand on this particular course of study here at CFBC, but I would hope to see this being applied even beyond the CFBC. So, when we have trained people in agriculture studies, they have those opportunities to actually make careers. We need those institutions that have the resources to provide said resources to our young people in agriculture to help them,” said Minister Powell.
The donation of the Hydroponic Shade House to CFBC was funded by Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), and the Small Grants Programme.