Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 11, 2018 (SKNIS): A strong agricultural sector remains vital to the success of a diversified economy and food security in St. Kitts and Nevis, said Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Harris, during his appearance on Straight Talk on Monday, September 10. “We would want to be able to produce more of what we need and what we want in the country. And so, we have to see greater production of fruits and vegetables and a significant increase in the production in terms of agro-processed products in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Harris. Dr. Harris noted that the agriculture sector in St. Kitts and Nevis has been “underperforming” for a very long time, and shared the same sentiments as the caller who touched on the sector, with respect for the need for urgent action. He noted that the government remains very supportive of the sector. “In this regard, the agriculture sector must be treated as crop farming, livestock farming, fisheries etc. under the meaning attributed to it by the Food and Agriculture Organization. So when we speak of agriculture, we are speaking also of the fisheries sub-sector,” he said. The prime minister made mention of the agriculture support fund that was recently introduced by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. “Under this programme, through the Development Bank, some 200 plus farmers would be able to receive grant support for their pursuit of agricultural endeavours,” he said, adding that it is just one example of the government’s support for the sector. “I am sure when we look at the record, we will see an increase in the number of farmers and in particular, an increase in the number of young farmers and young fishers.” He added that the government will invest heavily in the fisheries sector, especially in Dieppe Bay, where the fisheries complex had been destroyed. Prime Minister Harris recognised the Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, as he has been integral in ensuring that various incentives were given to the agriculture sector including, but not limited to, duty-free concessions on vehicles, as well as on certain equipment. Dr. Harris reiterated that the government will continue to work assiduously to further strengthen the sector as it is an important contributor to the economic prosperity of the country.