Poultry farming is expected to be the first agricultural product pushed by the government in its effort to revitalize that sector of the economy.
Over the last few years there has been a cry in the community that agriculture was ignored with many farmers accusing the government of being deaf and blind in this area that is key to food security. On the other hand, supermarkets sell tons of chicken at exorbitant prices while the demand for local chicken is skyrocketing because it is so much better than the imported chicken. The new government campaigned on the promise of re-igniting interest in agriculture and newly appointed Minister with that portfolio Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley said that he is very eager to move agricultural initiatives forward.
Hon. Wheatley is the Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture and in a government interview, moments after the presentation of the 2019 budget estimates announced that despite the fact that the new government went in and found a more or less completed budget he is still able to get some money to push forward agricultural initiatives.
Hon. Wheatley said: “Just along the theme of transition not much was budgeted for agriculture in previous budgets, it was mainly salaries and maintenance and things like that, but I asked the people who work within my Ministry, who I am grateful for to find some money for us to do something in agriculture so persons can expect that you will see some activities as it pertains to agriculture because I asked them to find money within the existing allocations. See if you can find some money to get things started.”
Under the NDP agriculture was like the forgotten Cinderella: the greenhouses project was quite a farce and in the end the hurricanes were conveniently blamed for the massive and expensive flop; however, it would be very interesting to see how much money was spent on that so-called project that never materialized.
In announcing that poultry farming is one of the plans that will be seen shortly in this sector Hon. Wheatley said: “Persons can expect to see something especially in the area of poultry, it’s an area that we have lots of potential in and I am going to go into it in a very meaningful way. Fisheries have a lot of potential and we can see that as opposed to government really taking on the brunt of expenditure there is an opportunity for private investment in the fisheries in particular.” Pundits believe that there is also the horrific risk of vacuuming our sea to make foreigners rich.
The Minister said that steps will be taken also to ensure support for the fisherpersons in the community: “Of course we want to make sure that our fisherpersons are taken care of. They have a place that they can bring their catch and that they can be paid for that catch, so they can expect that type of thing to continue and we should see some work commencing shortly in that area. There is lots and lots of interest in fisheries so that is something that is going to help us bring more income so that we can help to finance our budget.”