Crop and livestock farmers as well as fishers were on Thursday (October 20) recognized for their invaluable contribution to food security in St. Kitts and Nevis at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources Annual Food Heroes Prize giving ceremony.
This year’s event, held at the St. Kitts Eco Park, was attended by farmers and fisherfolk and a number of dignitaries including the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources, Honourable Samal Duggins; the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas; Attorney General Honourable Garth Wilkin; the Honourable Isalean Phillip; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Miguel Flemming, and staff of the agriculture department.
In delivering remarks, Minister Duggins said he was deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to show his own appreciation to the real “food heroes” in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I say congratulations, not because of the awards you are receiving, but for your invaluable service in feeding the nation,” said Minister Duggins.
“When the world was shocked by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the disruption of the food supply chain, countries started to look within in terms of how [farmers and fishers] would be able to feed the nation. Luckily, we were not severely affected but we should never allow ourselves to be caught off guard.”
“At the same time, this new government recognizes that you can’t do it alone. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives will be there to support your efforts and we are committed to addressing the underlying issues in agriculture,” the Agriculture Minister added.
Minister Duggins used his congratulatory remarks at Thursday’s event to reiterate his commitment to the transformation of the agricultural sector for the benefit of farmers, fishers, agro-processors and all other stakeholders.
He said, “As the new Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Marine Resources and Cooperatives, I made a commitment to move our agriculture product forward, to transform the industry and I stand resolute, I stand committed to doing just that, and I am happy that I have the support of our government and I am also happy that I have the support of our food heroes.”
Following the minister’s remarks, awards were presented in crop and livestock farming, fisheries and cooperatives.
The Cooperative Society of the Year 2021-2022 award went to the Gideon Force Agricultural Cooperative, while the Sandy Point Agriculture Cooperative Society (SPACS) was named the Most Improved Cooperative Society.
In the crop farmers division, Denise Gillard was named Farmer of the Year. This year’s event saw the inclusion of a new award, Recognition for Women in Agriculture. This inaugural award was captured by Capisterre Women for Development.
Meanwhile, in the livestock farmers division, Mr. Terrance Decosta was announced as the Livestock Farmer of the Year.
And in the fisheries division, Mr. Ray Liddie was named the 2021-2022 Fisher of the Year, while the Newtown Fishermen Cooperative received the Fisherfolk Organization of the Year award.