Government Of St. Kitts And Nevis Passes Key Legislation To Protect Animal And Plant Health In Pursuit Of A More Robust Agricultural Sector

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samal Duggins.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Minister responsible for Agriculture, the Honourable Samal Duggins, led the debates on two key legislations in the National Assembly on Thursday, May 02, 2024, both of which are geared towards protecting animal and plant health in St. Kitts and Nevis, and enhancing agricultural sustainability across the Federation.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Samal Duggins.

After meaningful contributions from Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle, the Animal Health Bill, 2023, and Plant Protection Bill, 2023, were successfully passed into law.

The Plant Protection Bill, 2023, seeks to prevent the entry and establishment of, and to control the spread of plant pests in the Federation. It also promotes the protection of plant resources and facilitates the movement of plants and plant products into and within St. Kitts and Nevis.

Similarly, the Animal Health Bill, 2023, seeks to put measures in place to control the movement of animals, animal products and animal-related items into and within the Federation in order to prevent the introduction and spread of notifiable animal diseases within St. Kitts and Nevis and other countries. The legislation also seeks to safeguard animal health and provides for collaboration among government ministries and departments and regional and international organisations in the provision of veterinary public health.

With respect to the Animal Health Bill, 2023, Minister Duggins said it further aligns St. Kitts and Nevis with the principles of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide through the development of international standards, guidelines and recommendations for veterinary products.

He noted that, “By adhering to these principles, we not only enhance our veterinary services but also contribute to global efforts in animal disease control and trade facilitation.”

Minister Duggins said these two pieces of legislation become even more important in the context of the ministry’s 25 by 25 Food Import Reduction Programme, which has led to drastic increases in agricultural output by local farmers.

“We cannot allow our farmers to cultivate millions of dollars’ worth of trees and have some pest or diseases come into the country and destroy them. We have to protect the livelihoods of our farmers,” the minister emphasised.

The Animal Health Bill, 2023, and Plant Protection Bill, 2023, both had their first readings on September 18, 2023.

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