Minister of Agriculture the Honourable Alexis Jeffers, right, visits a farm with Director of Agriculture Melvin James, second from right.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The new Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Alexis Jeffers, visited 12 farms on July 14 to assess the measures needed to be put in place to ensure agriculture within the Federation is taken to the next level.

“My impression on what we saw gives me hope in terms of what we can accomplish over the next five years and beyond,” said Hon. Jeffers. “There are challenges we have to overcome and some positives we can build on. This trip has certainly given us a little bit of both.

“The Ministry and Department of Agriculture are committed to ensure that the farmers we depend on are the main stakeholders in the process,” said Hon. Jeffers. “In St. Kitts, I see lots of opportunities we can explore and exploit. “Land is available, but it is how the farmers utilize the plots of land to produce at the level that the department and the entire island of St. Kitts can be proud of.

“Sustainability and resilience are at the focal points of the Federation’s collective minds and to achieve such, the ‘ingredients’ must come from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Federal Government.

“We have to sit down, come up with the strategies, plans, programmes and policies,” said the minister. “This will ensure that we are doing what has to be done to guarantee that agriculture is not just a buzzword. Agriculture has to be viewed in terms of what it can do as a sector, what it is doing, and what it should do. It must ensure it is providing livelihoods, providing food for our people and providing a secured and solid future.”