Basseterre, St. Kitts – The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has once again pledged its support to the agricultural industry in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis with the handing-over of the Vegetable, Fruit and Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement (VFUCQSI) Project Facility and a cheque to the tune of USD$241,000 for the Eco-Park Maintenance Project.
The handing-over ceremony held Jan. 11 at the Ministry of Agriculture Project Office at Needmust underscored the Taiwanese government’s confidence in the skills passed on to the federation’s agricultural technical officers in the turning over of the operation of the facility to the local officers.
Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, expressed his sincere thanks to the Republic of China (Taiwan) for their continued support to the government, specifically in the area of agriculture.
“We can go through many instances in agriculture where you have partnered with us and helped us to improve the quality of our production and today signals the importance of two important aspects of that development: the handing over of this particular facility and the handing over of a cheque in relation to Eco-Park,” said the minister.
He stated that the project has been shown to be very important and a vital part of the success of the crop growing in the federation over the past years. He explained that through this project, the confidence of local businesses, including a number of hotels has risen significantly. He said that this has led to businesses committing to buying local after being assured that the goods being produced are of a high quality.
“I am pleased today to learn that through many samples, we have proven the quality and production of food in St. Kitts and Nevis are around 98 percent in the good quality range for consumption,” he added.
Minister Hamilton said that the support for the Eco-Park through 2018 will allow the government the time needed to form a strategic plan between the Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism for the sustainability of the park. “The work between the Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism will continue to put us in a position to be able to fully manage and handle the Eco-Park without the financial and other support of the Taiwanese,” he said.
Project Manager Dr. Augustine Nwosu said that the VFUCQSI project was initiated in 2014 with the objective of improving the safety and quality standards of crops being produced and acting as a support system to farmers and the general public. He explained that since the inception of the project, more than 4,000 crops and 450 samples of soil have been tested as well as the construction of two compost demonstration farms in the federation.
“Over this year, the project has improved local agricultural capacity through training, seminars and workshops facilitated by both local and international expats,” said Nwosu as he mentioned the development of an online soil facility platform that was introduced recently under a new Geographical Information System (GIS).