Jonas wants lower water rates for farmers

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Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Dean Jonas said he is already looking at ways to reduce the price farmers pay for water.
With just one month on the job, Jonas told OBSERVER media that farmers are currently receiving water at a subsidised cost of $21 per 1,000 gallons, but it is still too high and is one of the hindrances for agricultural profitability for farmers.
“That is unsustainable. A large farmer who farms about 50 acres could use 100,000 gallons in a day and all of this water they are throwing in the ground to water crops. A farmer who has to use 50 to 100,000 daily could never be profitable…and they only get water when it is available from APUA,” Jonas said.
The minister said that ideally, he envisions the cost of water to farmers should be slashed to about seven dollars per 1,000 gallons.
“If we want our farmers to be profitable, we need a water solution. We have already formed a committee of stakeholders who are going to be requesting proposals from suppliers from around the world to fix this problem,” Jonas said.
Additionally, he is promising that greater collaboration will happen with the people in Barbuda on policies that will affect the sister isle.
In an interview on OBSERVER Radio’s Voice of the People, Jonas said that the inhabitants of Barbuda will have a say.
“The ministry is mandated in ensuring that Barbuda gets the kind of development it needs and we are going to be engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that it is done. On page eight of the proposed Barbuda Amendment bill, under section 5, number 53, it says the minister shall after consultation with the council, develop a plan for Barbuda,” he said.
Jonas said numerous conversations have been had with the elected member of Parliament for Barbuda, Trevor Walker.
The Barbuda affairs minister said he expects to work closely with the Barbuda Council with continued dialogue and feedback from Walker.

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