Food Security: Give young farmers a chance, appeals veteran farmer Winston Morris

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, April 23, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — As the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis moves towards realising Sustainable Development Goal Number Two, by ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture, a veteran farmer and educator is saying young farmers hold the key.

“Farmers are a special breed of people, and our job is a mandate that we have and that is to produce and provide available good quality food for the Nation,” said Mansion-based farmer Mr Winston Morris when he appeared as a panellist on the latest edition of Leadership Matters – A Virtual Forum Series on Tuesday April 20.

“We have been doing that for over a number of years and I know a number of young farmers who are trying to get into the business, and I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to (Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture) Mr Ron Collins and the Department of Agriculture to give them the chance,” noted Mr Morris.

Other panellists, with Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris on the hugely popular Leadership Matters programme on Tuesday, were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture et al, Mr Ron Collins; Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Tracy Challenger-Clarke; and Technical Specialist, St. Kitts and Nevis IICA Delegation, Ms Sharon Jones. The programme, on ZIZ Television and simultaneously broadcast over various platforms, was chaired by Ms Jacqueline Bryan.

“Sometimes we say ‘you are too young, you do not have any experience’, but how are they going to get experience if you do not give them the chance?” posed Mr Morris. “Speed up the action so that we can get the young farmers on the ground so that old folks like me can take a rest.”

Mr Morris, 70, who worked at the Ministry of Agriculture from 1971 to 1992 as a Propagation Technician and Extension Officer for both crops and livestock, was at one time the Livestock Officer responsible for Bayfords Dairy Farm, and subsequently Bayfords Dairies. He established the radio programme aired on ZIZ Radio ‘Agriscope’ in the late 1980s, which is still running today.

His passion for transferring agriculture information to young people dates back from the days he taught Agricultural Science and Biology at the Cayon High School from 1996 to 2010, a school where he also served as Deputy Principal for a number of years. He also taught at the Immaculate Conception Catholic School for three years covering Agricultural Science, Human and Social Biology and Integrated Science from 1st form to 5th form, where his efforts returned exceptional results at CXC CSEC level in all subjects.

Mr Winston Morris obtained honours degree in Agricultural Science from the University of the West Indies in 1983, and prior to that a diploma in Agriculture from the Jamaica School of Agriculture in 1975.

“As a teacher I taught young people farming – the farming business, the production side, the business side, and I would like to take some credit that most of the young farmers between Cayon and Saddlers they were my products, and I feel very good when I see them producing and doing really well,” said Mr Morris.

The veteran farmer and educator added: “I would always encourage them to do the right thing, and that is where leadership comes in. Some people are afraid to speak up and are afraid to give the young people a chance, and give them a leg-up and I am not one of those. I like to see young people strive – that is how the country strives.”

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