During the 2021 Budget Statement Presentation, Prime Minister, The Hon. Gaston Browne commended the growth and development of the agricultural sector during 2020.
“A bright light in the nation’s economic activity – and one that illumes possibilities for the future – is agriculture,” PM Browne stated.
The Prime Minister explained that although affected by the impact of COVID-19, the agriculture, livestock, and forestry sector returned growth of 1.1 percent in 2020, as compared to 0.5 percent in 2019.
Such improvement in the performance of the agricultural sector is primarily due to the quick and effective implementation of the Government’s policies at the height of the pandemic.
The country’s leader noted some of the policies and programs implemented to help bolster agriculture during that time. These included granting farmlands to 50 new farmers, distribution of seedlings throughout the sector, promotion of backyard farming, improvement in infrastructure, and increasing the availability and access to water on farms.
This strongly suggests, PM Browne said, “that there is potential for increased agricultural production in the future that would create jobs and income, as well as, foreign exchange savings and provide our nation with a measure of food security and food sovereignty.”
With the growth achieved in this sector, the Prime Minister advised that such lessons learned from this crisis should not go to waste.
“With this in mind, we are finalising financing arrangements for the development of a US$20 million Agro-Industrial Park in Antigua and Barbuda. The Project will be comprised of several components including a broiler farm, slaughterhouse, feed production, and feed mill, vegetable farm, and training centre.” The Prime Minister announced.