Senior Minister optimistic about production

Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris

ZIZ News…Feb 4, 2011 – Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, Senior Minister and Minister of Agriculture, is very optimistic that 2011 will be an even more productive one than 2010. Agriculture produce in 2010 exceeded that of 2009 by nearly 6% according to an Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Financial and Economic Review for 2010.

Minister Harris said “I feel satisfied that the farmers are really responding to my call to do more for food security and nutrition. I saw visible signs of this on the ground as we toured several farm sites from Tabernacle to Greenhill, New Road to Sandy Point.

“I was delighted to see potatoes, herbs, onions, and peppers on several farms. I commend farmers for what were well organized and managed farms”. Dr Harris identified the Mansion Farmers Group – Esmond Henderson, Euclid Nisbett, and Quinn Nisbett, as examples of some outstanding farms.

Equally impressive were the efforts of Karime Carey of Tabernacle, in livestock, poultry and rabbits, the efforts of the Cayon Primary School at mixed farming, Kevin Bowry, multiple production backyard operation in Sandy Point etc. Rabbit producers are the new dynamic group to watch and I am happy that this group has already formed a Rabbit Association and are cooperating with each other in production and marketing”, Dr Harris reported.

Dr Harris said he was impressed with the scale of Lloyd Mills poultry operation. I am advised that Mr Mills is the second largest producer of eggs in our Federation. I am satisfied by the investments which he has made to modernize it and to conduct an efficient operation. Dr Harris said that “with young people like Kevin Bowry, and Yohance Rawlins, I am assured that we have that new cadre of young people, with high enthusiasm and disciplined enough for the long haul to take the sector forward”.

Speaking to the challenges, Dr Harris said “the main concern of livestock farmers was the absence of a regular and reliable supply of animal feed. This is a matter that we will have to act on. It may be that there is a need to encourage further private sector involvement and investment in this area as the farmers association is not yet sufficiently strong nor has the Department of Agriculture been successful in getting resources to order larger stocks of supply”.

Dr Harris and a delegation of technical officers toured agricultural farms yesterday accompanied by the Water Engineer. Dr Harris said such tours bring policy makers closer to the reality on the farms and help to improve policy and decision making.

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