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Tropical Storm Karen leaves supermarket shelves empty of fruits and vegetables in St. Kitts

Tropical Storm Karen leaves supermarket shelves empty in St. KittsShelves empty of imported fresh fruits and vegetables
Basseterre, St Kitts – Tropical Storm Karen, which passed over 150 miles away from St Kitts and Nevis earlier this week left supermarket shelves virtually empty of fresh fruits and vegetables, exposing the weakness of the nation’s agriculture sector.
“To our valued customers: There will not be any fresh produce this week. Sorry for the inconvenience” Best Buy Supermarket informed shoppers as they entered their outlets Friday.
Tropical Storm Karen leaves supermarket shelves empty of fruits and vegetables in St. Kitts
The fresh fruit stalls at Valu Mart and Rams Supermarket laid bare of a large variety of fresh vegetables.
The inclement weather caused by Tropical Storm Karen which passed over 150 miles away from St Kitts and Nevis earlier this week, prevented the vessel which makes its weekly stop at St Kitts’ Deep Water Port from berthing safely.
“One little storm and the failure of our agriculture is exposed,” said one shopper.
“Where are our local produce? Where are our local farmers? Is there no mechanism in place for these supermarkets to find out and access local provisions if such are available?,” some asked.
Others: “Is our department of agriculture dead? Is our Ministry of Agriculture functioning? Is our Minister of Agriculture sleeping at the wheel?”
In March, while prime minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris told the nation in his 2019  Budget Address that there was an increase in the output in the agricultural sector in 2018 compared to 2017, his Minister of Agriculture and the Director of Agriculture painted a different picture.
In December 2018, Dr Harris in his capacity as minister of finance told the country that growth in the local economy was underpinned by an expansion of 11.4 percent in the agriculture sector, but Director of Agriculture, Melvin James informed stakeholders at the annual review in March that “our total output was 945.3 metric tons in 2018 and this is less than the year before which was 1094.5, a shortfall of some 11 percent.” said Director of Agriculture, Melvin James during the annual agricultural review in March.
The St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) candidate for St. Christopher 8, Dr Terrance Drew last month called for the removal of Minister of Agriculture, Hon Eugene Hamilton.
Citing Hamilton failures in all of the ministerial portfolios he currently hold, Dr Drew highlighted the shortcomings in the area of agriculture and called for the compensation of all livestock farmers who have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in what he labelled “the massacre of the livestock industry of St Kitts and Nevis.”
Dr Drew said livestock farmers island-wide have lost hundreds of livestock due to various diseases which not only depleted their incomes to sustain their families but also resulted in a reduction of food security and an increase in the already high food import bill.
“While we can produce good wholesome foods here, we are importing processed foods that give our people high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems, strokes and heart problems. Our beef is better than imported beef as our local beef is grass-fed,” explained Dr Drew, who pointed out that there is a difference between grain-fed animals and grass-fed animals.
“Our (local) meat is organic meat. It does not give heart attacks, like the other types of meat,” he said.
Dr Drew pointed out that food security for the people will play a pivotal and prominent role in the NextGen Labour Government.
“Hon Eugene Hamilton has failed the farmers. He has failed in the health sector. He has failed at NHC. He has failed in representation,” said Drew, who is also the chairman of the Labour Party.

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The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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