The Minister of Agriculture, Dean Jonas, on Wednesday presented fellow Cabinet members with various proposals to enhance the agricultural sector in Antigua and Barbuda.
According to the Cabinet notes, Jonas disseminated a paper written (at his request) by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), highlighting the economic value of improving the agricultural sector.
Yesterday, Information Minister Melford Nicholas told reporters at the post-Cabinet press briefing that the focus of the proposal was to promote agricultural entrepreneurship.
“Our discussions yesterday regarding the economic study done by the FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, was set as a foundation for effective planning where we are looking [to improve] entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. [Agricultural entrepreneurship] will not only satisfy local demands for different agricultural products, but allow for the opportunity to tap into
other markets,” Nicholas
Nicholas added that public education will be a major factor in the agriculture minister’s plans.
“Public education, in the form of awareness of what we intake and the advocacy of wellness, will be adjacent to the agricultural ministry’s [plans],” he said, adding, “I believe that the minister of agriculture indicated yesterday that this is the first layer and, over the ensuing months, we will see an outcropping of intense education programme.”
The Cabinet reported that over 50 percent of all importation into Antigua and Barbuda is food, with the majority being chicken.
The creation of a self-sustaining Antigua and Barbuda, through the advancement of the agricultural industry, could lead to millions of dollars being saved.