Minister of Agriculture leads delegation to meeting in Cuba

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Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Dean Jonas, lead a delegation to Cuba which resulted in substantial gains for the agriculture sector in Antigua and Barbuda.

The minister , who was accompanied by Ambassador Daven Joseph and Deputy Director of Agriculture Cheryl Edwards,  has in previous forums,  underscored the importance of building the framework for increased livestock and poultry production, if Antigua and Barbuda is to be self sufficient in meat production and meat products.

Livestock and poultry farmers are already embracing the new and exciting development plans outlined by the ministry, at a standing room only meeting that was held at the ministry’s headquarters earlier this month.

According to the Acting Director of Agriculture, the purpose of the just concluded visit to Cuba was to discuss some amendments to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in 2016 with the Republic of Cuba, to provide technical support for Antigua and Barbuda’s National Food Security and Sovereignty Action Plan.

During the meeting, discussions focused on support in the development of the livestock sector, with the initial emphasis on pork and poultry using cutting edge technology.

Support for the commercial production of corn, cotton, cassava and sweet potato, to develop feeding systems for the proposed expanded life-stock sector, was also discussed.

Ms. Edwards noted that support in the expansion of the agro-forestry sector, particularly in the area of providing planting material for various tropical fruit crops was also among other major items on the agenda.

Support in the apiculture industry with other value added products such as royal Jelly, Rain water harvesting and irrigation systems, were other crucial areas that generated much discussions at the meeting.

The culmination of these discussions resulted in the signing of a Contract of Agreement to provide technical assistance services and products, between the Republic of Cuba and Antigua & Barbuda, which will lead to a cooperation agreement pertaining to agricultural development between both countries.

A brigade of 13 specialists will be arriving in Antigua in May.

The experts will include nine veterinarians with specialties in reproduction, nutrition and bee genetics; three water engineers who will also assist in agro-forestry and fruit crops; and one geologist to assist with water mapping and expansion.

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