At Tuesday’s House sitting, the Prime Minister noted the salience of agriculture to employment in rural areas.
National food security and employment is one of the key focus areas of the 2017 budget presented by Prime Minister Hon. Allen M. Chastanet.
In a bid to revitalize the banana industry and increase production, the prime minister said a Banana Productivity Improvement project will be introduced.
“In addition to addressing issues related to leaf spot control, that project will oversee the expansion of the current acreage by 600 -1000 hectares, arrest the decline in production, rebuild farmers’ confidence, increase productivity to 37 – 49 tons per hectare, and restore production to satisfy the requirements of the market,” he explained, adding that by the third year of the project, predictions indicate that 60,00 to 70,000 pounds will be in constant production.
Additionally, climate resistant crops will be given specific focus. The Prime Minister revealed that greenhouse technology will be used to reduce the seasonality of crops.
“Measures will also be adopted to build resilience to climate change and steps will be taken to help farmers mitigate the effects of natural disasters and economic shocks [while] new opportunities will be created for generating income and employment in rural areas by expanding and diversifying production,” he continued.
The Prime Minister said such measures allow farmers to have a more sustainable production output which will help them enter into contracts with hotels. The government’s agricultural plans also include disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation initiatives.