In support of the Jamaican Consulate’s food drive, farmers from a farming group in the Bethesda farming community donated fruits and vegetables such as eggplants, sweet peppers, tomatoes, butternut squash etc.
These were presented to Extension Officer (Ag), Ika Fergus by representative of the farmers group Mr. Lakeram Seelall, who will hand them over to the Consulate.
This is a noble gesture by the farmers notwithstanding the challenges that they have faced throughout the year. Climate change has proven to be a major threat to agriculture, food security and the livelihoods of farmers in Antigua and Barbuda.
Ika Fergus, Extension Officer (Ag) explains that, “While the production has held up well, climate events such as prolonged dry conditions and rising temperatures are affecting farmers more frequently, resulting in disruptions to the production and supply chain of fresh fruits and vegetable products to markets and consumers.”
Further compounding this situation is the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The closure of restaurants and food service providers, hotels and catering businesses has shrunk the market for some commodities.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs will continue to supports and encourage similar initiatives. We understand that the road to sustainable agricultural and rural development will not be easy. It will require a concerted effort and close partnership with our farmers, agribusiness community and other important sector to develop effective solutions to some of the issues affecting the sector,” says Fergus.