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AGRI–FEST REPORTS SUCCESSES
Friday 11th March 2011

Officials met at the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment during a press conference, Thursdays’ to highlight the achievements of Antigua & Barbuda’s participation in the recently held Agri–fest in St. Croix between February 19-21.
The press conference comprised the Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment Hilson Baptiste, his Minister of State Chanlah Codrington, chairman of the Agri–fest Committee Sereno Benjamin, Central Marketing Corporation Manager (CMC) Dalma Hill, Diahn Gomes Animal Health Assistant, youth farmer Twin I Payne of Twinstod Enterprise Ltd, and other members of the team.
Minister Baptiste highlighted areas of collaboration developed between the regions (Antigua & St. Croix), especially as it relates to the exportation of agricultural produce.
The minister thanked the team for their dedication, commitment and result oriented achievements during the trip to St. Croix.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Agri–fest planning Committee Sereno Benjamin listed opportunities for training and capacity building.
Benjamin reported the exchange yielded deep commitment to the mutual advancement of the sectors for both countries especially in areas of training and capacity building. Permanent Secretary Sharon Peters headed the negotiations in St. Croix.

Achievements
O Exportation of solid Germsplasm of Mangoes to Antigua & Barbuda from St. Croix
Export opportunities for onions, carrots, sweet potatoes
O Training in grafting/ capacity building for officers from St. Croix
O Training in Aqua –culture development
O The continuation of the artificial insemination of Senopole.
The genetic introduction of white hair sheep into Antigua and Barbuda

SHOWCASING


Antigua and Barbuda’s team to the 40th, agri- fest in St Croix has made significant inroads with dialogues and concretized trading, training and other business opportunities for the twin island nation.
The festival, which ran from February 19-21, includes exhibitors, farmers, artisans, horticulturists and business representatives.
As part of the teams’ effort to secure avenues for export opportunities, a discussion was facilitated from the studios of WSTX Radio in St. Croix, on the show Straight Talk with Senator Holland Redfield and Observer Radio Studio in Antigua, Voice of the People with Winston Derrick.
Arising from that historic simulcast discussion between Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment Hilson Baptiste of Antigua and Dr. Louis Petersen, Commissioner of Agriculture of St. Croix, an agreement, was reached that opportunity for trade exists between the two countries. Especially, as it relates to fresh agricultural produce.
Jedidiah Maxime, Acting Director of Agriculture, Dalma Hill CMC General Manager and Sereno Benjamin Extension Officer were in studios Observer Radio and WSTX, respectively, providing technical support.
A further agreement was reached during a subsequent discussion between Dr. Louis Petersen and Permanent Secretary Sharon Peters that Antigua and Barbuda could benefit from training opportunities, networking of technical and capacity building in areas of agricultural business development.


AGRI –FEST DEEPENED COMMITMENT


Permanent Secretary Sharon Peters led a team comprising Sereno Benjamin Extension Officer and Dalma Hill General Manager of the Central Marketing Corporation to meet with the Dr. Louis Petersen Commissioner of Agriculture on St. Croix which firmed up other areas of opportunities and schedule a round table visit for Dr. Petersen in Antigua. Through that session an avenue was created for a meeting with two of St. Croix’s largest exporters of agricultural producers to explore the possibilities of trade in onions.
The permanent Secretary also met with Kwame Garcia, University Virgin Islands Senior Director of off island participation. Among the topics discussed was the involvement of the university in Mango Fest.
 


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