There is a prevailing drought ravishing Anguilla, and ploughed fields remain vastly uncultivated as a result of the situation.
Notwithstanding that, officials in the Ministry and Department of Agriculture, and farmers, have met to discuss ways and means of producing more agricultural products for local consumption, thereby reducing the island’s high cost of imports.
Two related matters – water and electricity – required for agricultural production, were also discussed during Wednesday evening’s joint meeting on the Department of Agriculture grounds.
The newly-appointed Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Curtis Richardson, and his Assistant, Mr. Othlyn Vanterpool, as well as Permanent Secretary, Larry Franklin, represented the ministry. From the Department were the Director of Agriculture, Mr. William Vanterpool and members of staff.
Minister Richardson spoke to The Anguillian about the meeting: “We arranged the meeting for all interested persons in agricultural production in Anguilla to see how Government can assist them in providing greater food production, and how Government and public partnerships can work towards that end,” he stated. “We want to make agriculture a sustainable business for them.”
Mr. Richardson continued: “As you know, two of the major components in our food production are water and energy; and for the past month and a half, as Minister of Agriculture, I have been battling to meet the needs of the island in that respect.
“As Minister of Agriculture, I also have Mr. Othlyn Vanterpool working with me. He is a very hardworking gentleman and together we are going to see what we can do. But, first of all, I think we need to meet with the people. I think it would be foolhardy for the Government to run ahead and try to give them something that they are not interested in. So we want to meet with them to see what their passion is – their interest – and see how Government can facilitate them to better deliver to the people of the island.”
Mr. Richardson added: Yes I am going to work very hard, and I confirm to the people of Anguilla that I am going to deliver.”