The Minister said that he welcomed the farm not only for its direct contribution to food security and nutrition, job generation and poverty alleviation functions, but most importantly the policy insights that can be garnered.
“We can certainly gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by regular farmers, the cost of technology for farm purposes, cost of labor, the optimum level of land required to operate a profitable commercial farm. All this information can be had from this operation and can filter into policy positions. At the end of the day we should be able to service our farmers better from the experiences learnt from this operating farm,” Harris added.
Harris told persons gathered at St. Pauls for the official handing over of the CAPISTERRE Farm, that “if we are to attract young students at a later date into farming and agriculture, the country has to move the sector into modernity.
“If our young people see it as work that is laborious and full of drudgery, then just as our grandparents warned us from becoming cane cutters and working in the sugar fields similarly too we will have reason to warn young adults against agriculture.
“We must apply the technology, the science and show them the range of skills sets required on the farm and they must also come to appreciate that the farm is a business requiring agronomists, managers, attendants, marketing specialists and scientists.
“Our young must see tractors and harrows replacing the hoe and human weeders,” Dr Harris urged.
The CAPISTERRE is one hundred thirteen (113) acres farm in the rural parts of St. Kitts. It is intended to provide a range of fruits and vegetables including traditional crops breadfruit, dasheen, tannia, yams and cassava. The farm presently employs thirteen (13) former SSMC workers. It is funded Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF).