Basseterre, St. Kitts – In a historic event at the Government House, Springfield on December 27, 2023, the Honourable Samal Duggins, Minister of Agriculture for the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Chancellor-Dean, SU Agricultural Research and Extension Center, solidified a partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on agriculture.
The partnership between Southern University (SU) and the Ministry of Agriculture of St. Kitts and Nevis encompasses various aspects, bringing numerous advantages to both farmers and the wider community. The Southern University Agriculture Research & Extension Centre (SUAREC) will offer crucial advisory services to the Ministry, enhancing the knowledge and skills of the Federation’s farming sector. This joint effort is designed to improve agricultural methods and bolster the farming community with advanced knowledge and techniques in fields like crop enhancement, medicinal plant studies (particularly in medicinal cannabis), and animal husbandry.
Beyond providing consultancy, SUAREC is also dedicated to promoting food safety within the Federation. The centre plans to conduct certification courses in food safety for vendors, aimed particularly at helping them obtain food handlers permits. Notably, a substantial portion of these courses will be made available at no cost to the residents of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Minister Duggins reflected on the day’s proceedings adding that this significant occasion marks a new era of collaboration and shared vision between St. Kitts and Nevis and Southern University.
“Today is a special moment, and as I reflect on this moment, the words ‘it was all a dream’ come to mind. This started from just a simple vision, imagining what may be possible. A few months ago, I stood behind a similar podium on the other side of the water at Southern University’s Campus, discussing the connectivity of our people. Today, we are witnessing the realisation of that vision.”
Minister Duggins highlighted the shared history and common challenges of both entities.
“As we celebrate agriculture and the work that Southern University is bringing to our shores, and as we celebrate our people, today is indeed special,” said Minister Duggins. “You see, as a small country, our aim is to develop and thrive, something that you know very well about because our struggles have been quite similar. Your university has gone through years of development, a journey which you are willing to add to our own success. We too have gone through years of development in our own way, and that partnership is what we are willing to share and build on.”
The agriculture minister said that the MOU symbolizes more than just a formal agreement; it represents a bridge between two cultures, recognizing their similarities and celebrating their unique strengths. The collaboration focuses on agricultural development, knowledge exchange, and mutual growth, aiming to enhance the agricultural sector in St. Kitts and Nevis while fostering a strong relationship with Southern University.
Minister Duggins extended his gratitude to all key stakeholders for their hard work and dedication, which has been instrumental in bringing this vision to fruition.
He said that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and Southern University look forward to a fruitful partnership, one that promises to bring about significant advancements in agriculture and contribute to the overall development of St. Kitts and Nevis.