Department of Agriculture holds meetings for livestock and crop farmers; seeds distributed to ensure food security

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 08, 2020 (SKNIS): In order to support the efforts that the Government of National Unity is undertaking to ensure the safety and the health of the people of the federation, the Department of Agriculture held two meetings on March 29 and 30, 2020, said Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton during the Leadership Matters virtual townhall meeting.

On Saturday, March 29, they met with the livestock farmers and on Sunday, March 30, they met with the crop farmers. Sixty-five farmers were present at Saturday’s meeting and 100 were present on Sunday.

“Having held discussions with them on Saturday…it was revealed to them a number of things that the Ministry of Agriculture is undertaking to give support to the production of their farming capabilities,” said Minister Hamilton.

At Sunday’s meeting, the crop farmers were relayed the information on how the government will be supporting their farming activities, said the minister.

“They were provided with information that government will support things like fencing, medication, feed, protection from dogs, some building materials and technical advice,” he said.

Minister Hamilton stated that the support of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), IICA and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has already been recruited. “They were engaged in that meeting and agreed to support the Ministry of Agriculture in carrying out its duties,” he said.

The minister said that at Saturday’s meeting he took the opportunity to inform persons who suffered losses as a result of disease, that the government has already approved half a million dollars to assist those farmers to replenish their stocks and to continue their business of producing livestock.

At Sunday’s meeting, the crop farmers, after they were informed about what the government will assist them with, were given seeds.

“[This was done] so that they can double their planting of the produce that is required,” said Minister Hamilton. “In fact, on that day the quantity of seeds that was distributed was given to 100 farmers so that they could continue their growing.”

The farmers were given fifty pounds of string beans, 40 packs of red star sweet peppers, 84 packs of bright star, 36 packs of yellow star, 40 packs of heat master tomatoes, 20 packs of dark bell melons, 20 packs of star bright melons, 20 packs of cucumber, 34 packs of Chinese kale, six packs of corn, 25 pounds of squash and 20 packs of cabbage.

“When we give a pack of seeds, we are talking about a pack which holds at least 1000 seeds,” said Minister Hamilton. “They could cover something like 12 acres of sweet pepper, six acres of tomatoes, nine acres of melon, five acres of kale, two acres of cabbage, five acres of string beans and 1.5 acres of cor n.”

In addition, said Minister Hamilton, the government has engaged with a number of individuals to plant slips for the farmers “especially to support those farmers who are actively farming and including those who are doing backyard farming.”

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