Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 13, 2015 (SKNIS): The Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Human Settlement, Cooperatives and Lands, has hailed his Government’s move in making sure that the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis are treated with respect and that their needs are addressed as top priorities since assuming office in February, 2016. These remarks were made while appearing on the Government’s weekly television and radio programme ‘Working for You’ on Wednesday, November 11.
“One of the very early things that we did was to invite the Venezuelans here to start to champion for the people who worked so hard in the sugar industry for centuries, he said, adding that it was one of the early accomplishments. “Just prior to that, we talked about the removal of VAT from food, medicine and prescription drugs, so that we set about to work for the people.”
The agriculture minister pointed out some of the areas of interest within the ministry.
“In my ministry, we had to bring some focus on a few things, for example agriculture faces some threats; one of the threats in agriculture is really the monkeys that have come to the low lands and destroyed crop after crop creating havoc for some of these farmers,” said Minister Hamilton.
He stated that this threat is significant and the ministry has made steps to deal with it.
Going forward and solving these issues, as it pertains to the monkeys, Minister Hamilton said that the ministry has decided to do some entrapment in order to give farmers an opportunity to get a breather in growing their crops. “We will put something in motion that will be a consistent concerted effort to ensure that the population of monkeys is reduced to give the farmers a break.”
The issue of water shortage was also mentioned, as he stated that the Federation has witnessed the worst drought for the century.
“Everything you planted practically were being parched, if you go to the supermarket to look sweet potatoes you will find none, the sweet potato you will find, people refer to them as picking,” said the agriculture minister, while noting that if persons are familiar with crops they will have an idea as to why they are called pickings.
“We have introduced that we are working hard to build more dams near farms so that the people can have an additional source of water even if there is no rainfall. It is true that if there is no rainfall the dams themselves will go empty but whatever pier we have for rainfall we are hoping that we can trap enough water that the farmers can benefit from it.
Human resources were also an area of priority for the agriculture minister, and he explained that the ministry is working with schools to encourage the young people to engage in farming. Thus far, there is a youth agriculture group and he stated that the young people are excited about being involved in farming.
Minister Hamilton pointed out that the issue of monkeys, the lack of rainfall and human resources are three major threats that his ministry has to deal with so that they can resolve or continue to produce food in the future.