“Are we consuming enough of what we are producing?” That was the loaded question from the Ministry of Agriculture, through senior extension officer, Owolabi Elabanjo.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, plans were put in place to assist farmers and other food producers to increase their capacity to better serve the country’s needs.
Speaking to Observer, Elabanjo said many farmers have increased their production in the past few months, and they are now calling on residents to help.
“What we believe and what we want more people in Antigua to do as we are getting through this Covid-19 when it comes to food security is for people to support local farmers by buying more local food,” he said.
Elabanjo explained that the ministry would be working to get some of the government’s assistance programmes off the ground.
“It’s not good for a farmer to come to the market with just barely 150 pounds of a particular food and he can’t get it sold,” he remarked.
Cabinet previously announced plans for a 25 percent discount off the cost of water for crop farmers, he noted.
“Also, APUA with the government and the ministry will be looking at new prices for water for farmers for agriculture,” the extension officer shared.
Many of these projects, he said, have already been approved but are yet to be implemented.
The economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic in recent months has resulted in many residents turning to farming for financial relief.
More than a dozen people who worked at excursion company Adventure Antigua were among those who took up shovels and fishing rods to make ends meet.
The Ministry of Agriculture also started distributing seedlings in an effort to promote backyard farming and boost food security.