Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 16, 2018 (SKNIS): Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, in his address to the nation for World Food Day 2018 on October 16, said that the importance of this occasion is to focus on the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal #2 on Zero Hunger.

“We use the occasion to advocate for the prioritization of selected operations in national development agendas; and we further use the occasion to promote the critical role social protection plays in reinforcing key development outcomes and ensuring the inclusion of all groups of society in development as a means to combat inequality, vulnerability and poverty,” he stated.

Minister Hamilton noted some of the objectives for World Food Day 2018, which include encouraging attention to agricultural food production, heightening public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world and strengthening international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and drawing attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

“Where we are today is the result of what we have been thinking and the way we have been doing things and our actions today and tomorrow will have direct and indirect impact on our food and nutrition security,” he stated.

He said that the Ministry of Agriculture is working diligently on its conservation efforts in managing the precious resources in the Federation. He highlighted they have reduced the use of pesticides from 3.65 kilograms to 0.31 kilograms per hectare through partnership with the Republic of China (Taiwan).

“Thanks in large measure to our friends from the Republic of China (Taiwan), whose Government partnered with us in establishing The Vegetable, Fruit and Upland Crop Quality and Safety Improvement Project; a partnership that saw the establishment of a Soil Fertility Analysis and Pesticide Residue Detection Lab,” he said.

He also stated that three weather stations in Mansion, Eco Park and Boyd’s were installed to collect data that are fed into a local and regional database as a part of an early warning system designed to provide information on climate change that will benefit produce planters and the general public.

“Clearly, as a government we are proactively leading in achieving the development goals and we encourage all stakeholders to engage with us in understanding their responsibility and vigorously exercise that responsibility,” he said.
World Food Day 2018 is being celebrated under the theme, “Our Actions are our Future. A #Zero Hunger World by 2030 is possible.”