In a simple handing over ceremony at the School Meals complex, Permanent Secretary Ashton Stanley of the Ministry of Agriculture explained that the donated chickens came from a batch of 500 young chicks that they had been donated to farmers and to the Association.
He stated that they were reviewing the way meals were produced in the schools and recognized that the school children were not consuming enough locally produced food.
“The intervention was necessary because at the government level, we recognized that this situation was impacting negatively on health. I don’t want to say what the health bill is, but it is a phenomenal figure. If we can have early intervention and make some change within the school feeding programme, then down the road, I believe that could translate into tremendous savings,” he posited.
He implored the chef at the school feeding programme to give feedback on how the changes are going, noting that Agriculture’s gesture is merely a small one. He lamented, however, that they do not intend supplying chicken every week. But he told them that with collaboration and planning, they could for their next delivery.
Assistant Secretary Aldison Warner of the Ministry of Education expressed thanks to the farmers and to the Department of Agriculture for their timely donation.
“We always have this idea that everything that we eat should be fresh. The food should reach our table in a fresh manner, and we are glad this morning that we could have chicken that are not frozen for weeks,” she remarked.
“We at the Ministry of Education are proud that we can present to our children and for parents to note that their children are eating something good, something fresh and something local. I would like to congratulate the farmers… This was something that was needed a long time ago, and I am glad that it is here today,” Warner added.
The secretary of the Broilers’ Association, Kobe Samuels, said that the Department’s goal for the longest period has been to “grow what we eat and eat what we grow”.
“So it was with that in mind, and this spurring us on, that we were really committed to doing this here. What you have from us is just the first quarter or batch of the chickens, and they were all locally grown here in St. Kitts by competent local farmers,” Samuels said.
A second batch of 500 chicks would be donated to farmers on Wednesday 18th January 2015.
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