On the political platform in constituency #2 recently, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas stated that he believes St. Kitts and Nevis is still importing too much food. He disclosed that about 87% of the foods that are being consumed within the Federation are imported from overseas markets and according to Dr. Douglas, “That’s not good enough”.
“We believe that our soil is rich. We need investors in commercial agriculture. We need to change the face of agriculture in our country in the future, and it is this Labour administration that will do exactly that in our next term.
“My dear people, we believe that if we are going to take St. Kitts and Nevis to the next level, we must have food security as well. And so we are inviting investors. Two main investors in agriculture sector are here. We have one who has shown an interest in pumping millions of dollars into the Capisterre Farm just below the Kittitian Hill, and that will be turned into a commercial farm, producing food all year round – green vegetables and fruits to be consumed by our people, making sure that our small farmers will have opportunities, either to lend their support to this farm, as a satellite farm, or for they themselves to receive support, as they continue to expand their growth and productivity in producing food, which will not only be available to our local population, but which can be exported to our neighbouring islands and beyond,” said Dr. Douglas.
He explained that the sector must be improved, and as such, a “massive investment” would be made in that area to bring benefits to residents of both St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The agriculture sector has to be improved. It will be improved. There is going to be massive investment of capital into this sector for the benefit of our people, as we twin agriculture and tourism here in St. Kitts and Nevis.
I want to make it absolutely clear that we will not only see investment in fruits, in crop vegetables, I would say, but also in the livestock industry. We believe that our livestock industry needs to be greatly improved and that is what is going to happen with the additional investment capital placed within the agricultural sector,” Douglas outlined.
Over the years the government through the Agriculture Department has undertaken a number of programmes to push its food security initiative, which includes a recent fruit tree planting exercise and the breadfruit initiative.
Continuing on the topic of investment, Dr. Douglas noted that the manufacturing sector would also see major investment being placed there, and that is being boosted by the “partial scope agreement”.
“The manufacturing sector, as well, will see massive improvement and investment with the partial scope agreement that we have signed with Brasil taking shape and delivering for the benefit of the the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, our industrial estate will continue to expand. Thousands of new job opportunities will become available to our ladies, those who wish to work in the industrial estate, and we will be seeing not only the lower end type of job opportunities created in this industry, in this manufacturing sector, but also highly skilled, highly technologically skilled activities being pursued by our women folk and our men folk in these factories,” he explained.
According to Dr. Douglas, sustaining economic development, pursuing growth and economic activity would help the long-term development needs of St. Kitts and Nevis.