Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 05, 2017 (SKNIS): Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, commended the Caribbean Agriculture Research Development Institute (CARDI) for its support and outlined some of the key accomplishments the institute has brought to the agricultural sectors throughout the Caribbean.
Minister Hamilton said that CARDI has been instrumental in assisting with facilitation of inter-regional agricultural trade and transport, strengthening of the regional cooperation between the islands, assisting regional bodies in finding resources to support agriculture, evaluating investment opportunities and sharing market intelligence over the past 44 years.
“Today I would say that CARDI has achieved. The science that goes into the production of agricultural products in the region has been driven primarily by CARDI,” said Minister Hamilton at a CARDI Day Conference held on December 05 at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The minister stated that in light of the recent devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the strengths and weaknesses of the agricultural sector must be evaluated to determine available opportunities and solutions.
“It is important for us to understand what our opportunities are and to carve them out. Opportunities for us to improve on what we do by making the information available to those policy makers that agriculture is important to every facet of life,” he added.
The minister appealed to the CARDI representatives and urged them to continue their support to the region, especially to those farmers that were affected by the recent hurricanes.
“I expect that CARDI will also do what it can to ensure that the farmers benefit at this time, having gone through those two serious hurricanes,” he stated.
Mr. John King, representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), sister company to CARDI, noted that the Cooperation seeks to “strengthen the existing national and regional institutions, support member states to develop and implement public polices, promote horizontal cooperation and develop and implement public policies to manage the multiple environmental risks threatening the agricultural product.”
Mr. King congratulated CARDI for its achievements over the years and expressed his own pleasure of having St. Kitts and Nevis as a member of the IICA for the past 25 years.
“I am certain that you would agree that is was good for St. Kitts and Nevis to be a member of IICA, and for us at IICA it was our pleasure to support the agricultural sector and rural well-being in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he stated.
CARDI and IICA were established to serve as agricultural research and development facilities for the OECS and CARICOM countries. CARDI operates under the theme of “Improving the quality of lives for the people of the Caribbean Region,” while the ICCA focuses on “Improving the capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change and make better use of natural resources.” These initiatives are exercised through agricultural research and innovation in the areas of biodiversity, biosafety, environment sustainability and human health.