Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 2, 2018 (DBSKN) — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis joins the rest of the world in observing World Food Day on Tuesday October 16. But for a country that places food security high on its agenda, the Federation will be observing an entire week of activities. The Department of Agriculture is thanking the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for partnering with it, to make the observation a more rewarding one.
“World Food Day is celebrated on the 16th of October, and it a world-wide observation,” stated Ms Teresa Dias, Chairperson of this year’s World Food Day Committee. “The date was selected by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and we at the Department of Agriculture we are in charge of organising the week of activities, which will run from the 14th to the 20th October.”
The theme for this year is ‘Our Actions are our Future’ and has a hash tag ‘#ZeroHunger world by 2030 is Possible’. The week of activities will open with an address by the Minister of Agriculture, and a church service at the Half Way Tree Church of God on Sunday October 14, while on Monday members of the World Food Day Committee will hold talks in schools.
The Department of Agriculture has activities that are geared towards improving food security as on Tuesday the actual World Food Day, they will join hands with the St. Christopher Outreach Centre to serve hot meals to shut-ins and those on the streets. They will also liaise with the Department of Community Development to help distribute food baskets in the communities.
On Wednesday October 17, there will be a plantain dessert competition which be held at AVEC, and competition will be amongst the secondary schools. Plantain was chosen because it was the highlight of Restaurant Week.
Thursday October 18 Agro Strip, in New Town, will from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm be displaying different cooperative groups and a prize giving ceremony will be held at 4:00 pm. On the same day the Ministry of Agriculture will give recognition to farmers and fishers.
Friday will see the Fauna Food Fair and Beer Fest that will be held at Port Zante, and according to Ms Dias, this year they are looking to highlight the local meat around the island.
On Saturday October 20, the Sandy Point Farmers Co-ops will be organising their annual mini-agricultural exhibition and the Department of Agriculture will be there to support them.
“We are also going to have the announcement of a coconut repopulation project that we are working on,” noted Ms Dias. “We are going to do this throughout the month of October. We have asked several nurseries and other businesses on the island to help us with that initiative. So we are going to plant coconut around the island in different locations because we realise that because of the lethal yellowing we lost a couple of our coconut trees around the island.”
For the World Food Day Committee to effectively carry out activities of the week, partnerships were sought from corporate citizens. Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) responded favourably, and on Friday September 21 Ms Dias received a sponsorship cheque of EC$3,000 from the bank’s Marketing Officer Ms Vernitha Maynard.
“The sponsorship from Development Bank would be greatly utilised in the week of activities, as we have a number of events that are geared towards youth development and agriculture development, such as the Fauna Food Fair and Beer Fest,” said Ms Dias. “I would like to thank the Chief Executive Officer Mr Lenworth Harris for the bank’s kind contribution to our activities as we take the initial steps to achieve a zero-hunger world by 2030.”
The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis is a leader in the promotion of food security in the country through agriculture. The mission statement of this government-owned institution, which was established 37 years ago, is ‘To be a viable financial institution which promotes economic growth and development by providing financial and advisory services to viable ventures and programmes in business, industry, agriculture, education and housing’.
To ensure food security and also to fulfil one of its mandates, the Development Bank has over the years been working with farmers and fishers oftentimes offering them low interest loans. It has rightly earned the name ‘the Farmers Bank’. Right now under its Agriculture Support Fund, the bank is offering loans at 5% interest to farmers and fishers whose businesses were impacted by the two hurricanes last year.