CHARLESTOWN, Nevis: Minister of Agriculture, Robelto Hector, is urging producers to strive to match the demand for food, as food production is directly linked to poverty, hunger, trade and development.
The statement came during Hector’s speech at the 18th annual Agriculture Open Day hosted by the Department of Agriculture at the Villa Grounds in Charlestown. The theme of this year’s exhibition was “Strengthening Cooperative Enterprises for Sustainable Agriculture Development”.
Hector recounted the agriculture department’s many achievements over the years, saying: “As we reflect, we can indeed conclude that we have achieved the objectives of showcasing our success in agriculture; identifying interventions aimed at improving farm income and developing and introducing appropriate technologies suitable for different agro-industries and target beneficiaries.
“Indeed, we have achieved much; however, let us not be complacent. Let us strive to include every possible stakeholder in the agricultural sector to participate in this event.
He spoke of the many exhibitors that were drawn to the exhibition and was inspired by the impressive range and quality of products on display.
“This is testimony to the potential of our stakeholders to become major players in production, consumption and the trading of various types of agricultural produce. These products include cotton, vegetables, jellies and wines, meats, livestock products and root crops,” he said. “I take pride in this success, this economic opportunity, and congratulate all the producers and exhibitors for a job well done.”
In light of 2012 being celebrated as the International Year of Cooperatives, Hector said the time has come for a breath of new life into some of the existing cooperatives on the island. He congratulated the cooperative department for its role in the island’s development as an agricultural sector and for its new Junior Banking Saving initiative in primary schools.
“I am advised that our Junior Banking Saving within our primary schools is in excellent standing with approximately $500,000, a success story that we have shared with our Jamaican counterparts who visited us earlier this year to observe the level of activity within our primary schools.
“I applaud the new vision of the Director of Cooperatives to begin the promotion of the thrift and industry among our church youths,” he said.
Hector also commended primary and secondary school teachers for their continued efforts to expose students to agriculture.