Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Minister of Agriculture et al. the Honourable Samal Duggins, while lending his support to the Appropriation Bill (2023), 2022 on day two (2) of the debate (December 15), pledged St. Kitts and Nevis’ commitment to CARICOM’s 25 percent by 2025 Agenda which is aimed at reducing the regional food bill.
“Madam Speaker, we have adopted a more measurable goal, a goal that we have not adopted alone. As members of CARICOM, we have bought into the 25 by 25 Agenda where we have agreed across CARICOM to invest in our people so that they more adequately be able to participate in reducing our food import bill by 25 percent by the year 2025,” said the Honourable Duggins. “In St. Kitts and Nevis, that means cutting the approximate $140 million dollar annual food import bill by 25 percent which is some $35 million dollars per year.”
Minister Duggins added that the money that will be invested into the Ministry of Agriculture et al “will directly encourage and enhance our people’s ability to target that $35 million dollars annually.”
A proposed $25, 143, 820 was allocated for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives for 2023 operations.
“The Budget for 2023, which stands at $25, 143, 820, is designed to ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis will be a part of CARICOM’s conversation when they speak to the successes of their 25 by 25 Agenda,” he said. “And as your Minister of Agriculture, I stand committed to ensuring that when that conversation is had, St. Kitts and Nevis would be a glowing example.”
The honourable Minister said that St. Kitts and Nevis is ready for an “agricultural revolution and a transformation.” He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is ready for action, especially as they pave the way to further enhance food security and food safety in the Federation.
According to www.caricom.org, the implementation of the CARICOM Agri-Food Systems Strategy in its Member States is expected to help achieve the 25 by 25 target by giving special attention to priority crops and products such as poultry, corn, soya, meat (goat, sheep, beef), rice and niche vegetables which are highly imported products in the region.
The Appropriation Bill (2023), 2022, of approximately EC$1.02 Billion is being held under the theme: “Towards Our Transformation as a Sustainable Small Island State.”