High food prices still a concern for government, says Nevis Premier

Premier Of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley.
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Charlestown, Nevis – Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) the Honourable Mark Brantley says the government continues to look at ways to mitigate against the high cost of food on the island.

Premier Of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley.

Premier Brantley, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Industry, Commerce, and Consumer Affairs, spoke on the issue while delivering the feature address at the Nevis Chapter of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC) Quarterly Luncheon on Tuesday, March 05.

“As a small island developing state that imports most of its food from international markets there is very little, truthfully, that the government can do to moderate the increased prices. Although global inflation has begun to decline food prices on the island still remain relatively high.

“We of course continue to encourage our people to buy locally grown foods, and we encourage you [food stores] to switch from some of the more expensive brands to less expensive brands where possible,” he stated.

The Premier outlined some of the measures the government undertook to alleviate the problem, highlighting incentivizing local agriculture.

“As one of the responses of this government we have spent quite a bit of money incentivizing local agriculture. The idea is if we can have import substitution for food, then we are hopeful that will lead to a reduced price.

He continued, “That has been our approach but certainly that is something I’d like to hear from the Chamber as to what you think we can do together to bring prices down, as we anticipate and I have heard and I have seen that many of our families, particularly families with single parent household, they are struggling to put food on the table as a result of the continued escalation of prices.”

The Honourable Premier pointed out that Nevis, like territories worldwide, is still recovering from the economic crisis brought on by the Covid pandemic. The pandemic caused major disruption to supply chains globally, which resulted in shipping costs increasing exponentially.

The NIA’s decision to remove Customs Service Charge from food imports was barely relevant to the overall retail prices, he disclosed, as owners of supermarket explained that the cost of purchasing the items overseas continues to escalate.  

Premier Brantley entreated further dialogue between the Nevis Island Administration and the CIC membership to help address this challenge.

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