A national of St. Kitts Nevis Dr. Jerome Thomas appointed as FAO Representative

Dr. Jerome Thomas

Basseterre (September 10, 2010)…Lesroy W. Williams – Dr. Jerome Thomas is no novice or stranger when it comes to the agriculture industry. His passion and vocation for agriculture at home and abroad have not only increased his knowledge theoretically as a doctor in the field, but have afforded him a wealth of experiences that has been recognized domestically, regionally and internationally.

On September 8, 2010, Dr. Thomas takes up a new and esteemed position as FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) Representative for the countries of Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize. His office will be based in Jamaica and the appointment is for three years renewable.

Since 1974, Dr. Thomas worked with the Department of Agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis—he began as an agricultural trainee and moved on to become a research officer. In 1995, he was appointed as Director of Agriculture, a position which he held up until 2007. He continued, however, to be an agricultural advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture up until 2008.

After serving for some 34 years in the agriculture industry in St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Thomas moved on to Barbados where he worked as project coordinator for the FAO from 2008 to 2010. His main duty was to implement an EU (European Union) funded project in the Windward Islands under the Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) to assist countries in their diversification efforts, who had decided to come out of the banana industry.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the experiences that I gained here (St. Kitts and Nevis) working at the Department of Agriculture, working with farmers, establishing and developing regional and international contacts were critical for me being able to successfully be appointed as FAO Representative,” Dr. Thomas said. “The experiences that I had here have been tremendous. I think they have equipped me.”

“What has been really heart-warming for me is the tremendous outpouring of support that I have received from my colleagues, regionally and particularly in St. Kitts. It has been a great feeling. Whatever I am in agriculture, I really owe it to the country—the staff and farmers primarily in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.

Dr. Thomas, however, thinks that there is scope for doing more in agriculture locally and regionally.

“When you look at the contribution of agriculture to national development, not only in St. Kitts and Nevis, but the whole region, it has declined significantly over time.

“When you look at food security, the ability to feed ourselves, earn foreign exchange and provide employment, I think generally that nobody can be satisfied with the contribution that agriculture is making. Yes, there are many challenges to be overcome but I don’t think that we can be satisfied with the contribution that agriculture is making,” he said.

“The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world’s poor and hungry people,” the organization’s official website stated.

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