“You have to be smart in the crops that you grow,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said as he encouraged farmers to coordinate with each other to boost food security in the country.
Over the weekend, Browne stated that the government is seeking “to increase production and to displace most of those imports”.
And to do so, he said that “maybe there needs to be some sort of coordination to allow people to specialise in different areas”, as he made mention of the assistance being offered through the Farmers Forum.
Browne added that in order for Antigua and Barbuda to decrease importation of crops, there is a need “for the farmers to know where the demand areas are”.
“Why for example, go and grow a million pounds of cucumbers when the market doesn’t need it,” he remarked
The prime minister disclosed that, on average, the twin island imports millions of dollars’ worth of produce each year.
“We import more in produce but in terms of the crops that we grow here — onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, melons — we import a total of 18 million in produce,” he stated.
“I don’t see why should be importing as much as $2 million annually in onions when our calculations are such that we can grow some of the best onions in the world,” Browne added as he encouraged residents to get involved as the demand for food security increases in the era of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the prime minister disclosed that several countries have expressed interest in manufacturing goods on the island.
“In fact, Carib Beer has just indicated to us in no writing that they are moving forward with the brewery and as you know, Harris Paint, they have established a factory here,” Browne said.