NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 23, 2020) — Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), is pleased that his department was able to participate in the 36th Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean held virtually in Managua, Nicaragua from October 19-21, 2020.
Mr. Sargeant, along with Mr. Randy Elliott, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Mr. Floyd Liburd, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture, were part of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation headed by Ron Dublin-Collins, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, St. Kitts. Sargeant outlined some of the key points that were discussed.
“The major topics that were of note to us in Nevis were the rise in hunger in regions between 2015-2019; the economic impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods and food security; the use of technology for enhanced production; the need for improved access and trade options so that more persons can benefit; and investment in agro-food systems,” he said.
Speaking with the Department of Information on October 22, 2020, Mr. Sargeant said overall, the participation of the Nevis team was a good learning experience, and more importantly it validated the direction that Nevis is taking in agriculture.
“We are in agreement with the major points that were discussed and we are at differing levels in our operations to ensure food and nutrition Security,” he said.
Mr. Sargeant explained that they have taken steps to strengthen the island’s food systems including investing in storage, agro-processing and water provision. In the area of technology they are investing in production and marketing support tools and platforms, as well as working with the Republic of China (Taiwan) looking at tools to assess weather patterns, soil fertility and testing, as well as mapping the island’s resources.
The FAO Regional Conference is held every two years. It brings together the governments of its 33 member states in Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss the main challenges facing the region in food and agriculture.