On day two (2) of the Appropriation Bill (2023) discussion, Honourable Samal Duggins, Minister of Agriculture, pledged St. Kitts and Nevis’ commitment to CARICOM’s 25% by 2025 Agenda, which aims to lower the region’s food cost.
“Madam Speaker, we have adopted a more measurable goal… a goal that we have not adopted alone. As members of CARICOM, we have bought into the 25 by 25 Agenda, where we have agreed across CARICOM to invest in our people so that they more adequately be able to participate in reducing our food import bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025,” said the Honourable Duggins. “In St. Kitts and Nevis, that means cutting the approximate $140 million dollar annual food import bill by 25 per cent, which is some $35 million dollars per year.”
The funding for the Ministry of Agriculture and related departments, Minister Duggins continued, “would directly stimulate and increase our people’s ability to reach that $ 35 million dollar annually.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Cooperatives was given a proposed $25,143,820 for 2023 operations.
“The Budget for 2023, which stands at $25,143,820, is designed to ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis will be a part of CARICOM’s conversation when they speak to the successes of their 25 by 25 Agenda,” he said. “And as your Minister of Agriculture, I stand committed to ensuring that when that conversation is had, St. Kitts and Nevis would be a glowing example.”
St. Kitts and Nevis, according to the honourable Minister, is prepared for an “agricultural revolution and a transformation.” Especially as they continue to pave the road for improving food security and food safety in the Federation, he underlined that the Ministry of Agriculture is ready for action.
By paying particular attention to priority crops and products like poultry, corn, soya, meat (goat, sheep, and beef), rice, and speciality vegetables, which are highly imported goods in the region, the CARICOM Agri-Food Systems Strategy is expected to help its Member States achieve the 25 by 25 target.
The subject for the Appropriation Bill (2023), 2022, with a budget of roughly EC$1.02 billion, is “Towards Our Transformation as a Sustainable Small Island State.“
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