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Second Chinese agricultural project starts soon

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The second instalment of the Chinese government funded agricultural development
project for Antigua and Barbuda, is about to start with the arrival of the team of
agricultural officials from the People’s Republic of China.
Agriculture Minister E.P Chet Greene made the announcement following
discussions with representatives of the company that will implement the project,
Long Ping High Tech.
Greene said his focus on this second phase will involve more direct contact with
local farmers. “This is the second iteration of the agricultural exchange programme
between the PRC (People’s Republic of China) and the government. The company
that is here assisting us is Long Ping High Tech, who will use the Green Castle
Agricultural station as their base. However, in this iteration, the decision is to have
more direct interaction with our local farmers,” he stated.
Minister Greene explained that in each of the nation’s five agricultural districts
(Antigua as well as Barbuda are treated as single districts), two to three farmers
will be identified with whom they will work with directly. He added that the
Chinese agriculturalists introduced a number of new crops when they were last
here, and the plan is to engage them, introducing even more crops.
The agriculture minister said the project has aims far beyond the crops that the
Chinese introduce. “We are selecting the farmers with a view towards technology
transfer and harvesting; with an eye on comparing their methodology with the
technologies on the ground, to determine how local farmers could improve or
become more efficient,” Greene stated.
According to Greene the ‘buy in’ from the local farming community will be key to
the success of the programme.
“As minister responsible for agriculture, the most important thing is to have buy in
from the local farmers. This is about the transfer of knowledge and techniques of
technology, as we try to increase our food production and food security and as we
try to up-skill our farmers with more modern techniques, and oversee their
implementation,” he said.
The minister also expressed his government’s appreciation to the PRC, over their
quick response to the request from the government to extend the programme. He
noted that the last programme had a number of successes, adding that this time

around he would wish to see improvements in the mode of production. “This is
Antigua and Barbuda leveraging our foreign policies to benefit the country and to
improve our agricultural sector. They can’t go to every farm but their base will be
at Green Castle and farmers will be expected to interact with them there as well,”
he remarked.
The project will also include the construction of a tissue culture laboratory to
conduct a variety of agricultural experiments.
The project will also include farmers on the sister island of Barbuda, as members
of the team will travel to Codrington shortly.

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