Mr. Augustine Merchant of IICA and Mr Starret Greene of OAS made the remarks on Wednesday last week (23rd November) at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop training on ‘The Application and Use of a Cost of Production/Investment Model for Crops and Livestock’ organised jointly by the Development Bank and IICA at the University of West Indies Open Campus, the Gardens in Basseterre.
“Permit me to use this occasion to commend the General Manager of the Development Bank Mr. (Lenworth) Harris for the support which he has provided to enhance the competitiveness of the agricultural sector,” said Mr Augustine Merchant. He also commended the General Manager “for being very proactive in establishing this relationship with IICA.”
According to Mr Merchant, the philosophy of IICA’s Director General Dr Victor Villalobos is one which seeks new strategic partners to aid the improvement in agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean. This, he said, was imperative as “the current global context characterised by economic, social and environmental instability makes it impossible for a single institution to meet all existing needs related to the development of agriculture in the hemisphere.”
OAS representative to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr Starret Greene, observed that the two-day workshop brought together key stakeholders in agriculture and that his organisation was pleased to be associated with the workshop.
“I wish to applaud IICA and the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for partnering to organise this event,” said Mr Greene. “In the current environment where financial resources are scarce, some instances nonexistent, it is essential that institutions work together to optimise the funds at their disposal. Such actions will allow developmental corporations to be directed to those of our citizens who need it most.”
The workshop, which was attended by over 50 farmers and agricultural extension workers from both St. Kitts and Nevis, was organised by the Business Support Unit of the Development Bank, and aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the modernisation of the agricultural sector. It was facilitated by Mr Edric Harry, IICA Policy Analysis and Policy Specialist of Trinidad and Tobago.
Delivering welcome remarks at the opening ceremony, General Manager of the Development Bank Mr Lenworth Harris paid glowing tribute to the three-member staff of the Bank’s Business Support Unit led by Mr Shavon Douglas. The other members of the team are Mrs Vernitha Maynard and Ms Jasmine Primus.
“This unit was only recently reorganised as late as 5th September,” said Mr Harris. “We restructured our operations to essentially shift away from trying to make direct intervention with our clients and to facilitate the intervention using internal and external resources because we recognise that if we try to do it by ourselves we would not be able to capture a sufficient number of clients or prospective clients or business persons to be effective in our delivery.”
In welcoming the workshop’s participants and thanking them for turning out at short notice, Mr Shavon Douglas, who was the master of ceremonies, said that the two-day workshop was the first of what the Bank envisions would be a series of workshops that are designed to lend support that would improve the overall capacity of the Bank’s and by extension the Federation’s productive sector.