BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives continues to work assiduously to strengthen food security within the Federation. On September 26, 2022, Minister of Agriculture et al the Hon. Samal Duggins was present at the handing over ceremony of a Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer to the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards.
“This piece of equipment will bring St. Kitts and Nevis closer to the point of being able to establish our export market where we can penetrate on a high level, even higher than we have done before. As I looked at our import bill prior to now, I must admit it was quite depressing to recognize that we spend over $130 million importing food into our Liamigua. And understand what that means, the land of fertile soil spends $138 million importing food, which represents 85 percent of what we consume. So, 85 percent or more of what we consume is imported. We must recognize now that there must be a shift, a shift in mindset, a shift in behavior and a shift in budget. We must put our people to work, not just in farming but in agro-processing and put that wonderful produce out in the world to consume,” said Minister Duggins.
The Minister of Agriculture also indicated that CARICOM leaders have made the ’25 by 2022′ goal for regional food security a major aspect of their domestic governance agendas, with the agriculture sector geared to drive regional growth.
According to the Director of Projects at the Caribbean Development Bank, Mr. Daniel Best, the donation of the Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer was made through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Cariforum European Union sponsored Strengthening the National Quality Infrastructure: Training and Equipment for Conformity Assessment Project.
“This new initiative is one of two projects in St. Kitts and Nevis that seeks to strengthen national quality infrastructure and trade facilitation with support from the 11th European Development Fund Economic Partnership Agreement and CARICOM Single Market and Economy standby facility for capacity building… we are grateful for national partners, particularly the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards, the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs for their commitment to the success of this project. I would also like to express appreciation to the European Union for its commitment to delivering impactful projects that improve the ability of CARIFORUM member states to improve the trade of their goods,” said Director Best.
The gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GC/MS) has been developed to separate and analyze mixtures with high sensitivity, and as a result, is used in a wide range of fields, such as measurement of dioxin, organic compounds in drinking water, and concentrations of drugs in blood, as well as a tool for developing new pharmaceutical products.